Beam smart projector shows video, images from any light socket on any surface

editors-choicePico projectors that can be connected to Android and iOS mobile devices to display video and other content can come in handy at home and at the office when making presentations. Combining a pico projector with an LED light bulb into a device that can be connected to any light socket could make it even more handy.

patent-claimedThat’s precisely what the makers of Beam have created. It’s an always-connected 100-lumen LED projector that promises 20,000 projection hours, and comes equipped with an LED light, two 2-watt speakers and 8 GB of onboard storage. Beam features a tapered, cylindrical design that’s designed to accommodate any standard light socket. Any electronic device can be connected to Beam, including mice, keyboards, game controllers, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speakers, and smartwatches.

Beam turns any flat surface into a big screen, whether it’s a table, ceiling, floor or wall. It also enables users to listen to music via its speakers. Beam can be programmed to do a wide range of things, such as play music or display certain content at specific times each day, or whenever somebody turns on connected Bluetooth speakers or starts the Beam app. It will ship at $399 in October. Beam’s maker set a goal of raising $200,000 by March 24. That money will be used to complete Beam development and start production, according to its Kickstarter campaign.

Beam, which is featured in Backerjack’s Episode 7 podcast, holds a great deal of promise. Its multi-functionality and unique design help it easily stand out from the growing number of pico projectors on the market, including TouchPico.

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Pico eases time lapses with or without a smartphone

Photographers have many tricks up their sleeves. One of the best is using time lapses to create beautiful images. This consists of taking lots of pictures within a short or long amount of time to capture shooting stars, thunder storms, sunsets or any other very quick or slow moving eye-catching event.

Pico makes it easy to create customized time lapses. The device plugs into your smartphone and then the free app makes it possible to schedule the number, frequency and exposure of desired shots. In addition, the app allows for bulb ramping which makes it possible to change the light for shots going from day to night. Once that’s done, plug Pico into the camera which will obey the program.

If a program is unnecessary, you can use Pico as a simple intervalometer. To do so, press down on Pico and count the number of beeps. Each beep equals one second. When that’s finished, the camera will continue shooting at the desired interval until Pico is unplugged.

Pico plugs into the camera with different cables available that are compatible with 300 different camera models. Plugging into the headphone jack means that Pico is compatible with any iOS or Android smartphones running current or recent software. In addition, this product has a battery life of eight years.

Many cameras have interval options available, but all are difficult to use. Photographers are forced to use little screens and buttons to make their programs, with few options available to them. Pico makes programming a cinch and is small enough to live in the camera bag all the time. It’s unclear if the app saves past programs. If it doesn’t, the creators may want to consider adding such a feature. Backers will need to donate $50 for this product with an estimated delivery date of July 2015. Pico is hoping to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter.