When we first saw SPUD (Spontaneous Pop-Up Display) show up on Kickstarter, we couldn’t decide whether it was terrible or genius, and after seeing a prototype in person at CES, I’m still undecided. First off, and this will come as no surprise to anyone who’s used a projector with the lights off, the screen isn’t very bright. It was totally readable and usable under the convention center lights, but obviously far inferior to any “real” screen — and probably kind of bad for daytime outdoor use. I thought the imperfection of the screen’s flatness would bug me, but it didn’t.
What did bug me, though, is that when folded down the screen is nowhere near as small as it’s supposed to be… and it’s kind of hard to fold. Apparently the final design is “finished,” which will make the screen easier to fold and about the size of a hardcover Harry Potter book (Deathly Hallows, not Goblet of Fire) when collapsed. But right now the prototype SPUD is too big and too messy to really consider it convenient.
Having a second display for your laptop or phone can be fantastically useful, but most of the time we’re stuck without one because who the hell lugs a monitor around outside of their house? (Answer: very cool and very dedicated nerds.) Portable projectors are one option, but a new Kickstarter campaign offers another solution: a collapsible projector-and-screen combo that pops open like an umbrella.
It’s called the SPUD or Spontaneous Pop-Up Display, and at The Verge, well, we can’t decide whether it’s terrible or genius. When collapsed, it looks like a deflated airbed: about the size of a big hardback book and weighing under two pounds. When opened, it’s more like a light diffuser used by photographers. The projector itself sits at the back of the unit and throws the image up onto the 24-inch screen.
Then there’s the fact that the display requires a lot of custom hardware to build, and this all-new dream of a collapsible screen becomes even more remote. Arovia, the company making SPUD, plans to have a final prototype done in March or April, and then ship to Kickstarter backers around June, but a lot of things have to go right in the meantime to hit that goal.
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