Projecteo: The tiny Instagram projector

Projecteo: The tiny Instagram projector

Posted On: December 5, 2012
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Looking for the perfect accessory to those lens-less glasses, skinny jeans and that fixie bike? Look no further. No hipster should be without one. It instantly grants you with the means to project your faux photography onto any surface you please so you can bore your friends with amateur hour filters over pictures of sunsets, food and that coffee you bought with something drawn in the foam on the top.

Here’s the blurb and pictures from their Kickstarter:

Projecteo is a tiny Instagram projector. It uses wheels of 35mm slide film you make online and each one holds nine photos. Whether they’re of your best friends, that holiday last summer or good old pictures of cats, just pop them into Projecteo, focus by twisting the lens barrel and sit back to enjoy your slideshow.

We’ve developed a process to get your Instagrams onto a single frame of 35mm Kodak film stock, which is cut into a circle and fits snugly inside a wheel. To change wheels, just gently pull it out and place the next one in the slot. You will be able to collect as many wheels as you like.

No pixels, no pixelation.

Like all projectors, Projecteo works best in the dark. We’ve had great looking images up to two and a half feet wide in a pitch black room. Unlike screens, slide film doesn’t have pixels. This means you get beautiful looking images from a device the size of a matchbox.

The functioning prototype

SLS printed prototype

We started off by 3D printing early prototypes of Projecteo. Sure, it was rough and stuck together with tape but it had enough charm to make us fall in love with the idea. We wanted to see how far we could take it.

Through an iterative process, we optimised the focal length of the lenses and added a focusing mechanism. We looked for the most powerful LEDs we could find, made the batteries replaceable and figured out the perfect ratio of images per wheel. We modified the outside edges to give Projecteo a five degree chamfer, to make it a bit nicer to hold. Oh and of course, we gave it cute little feet.

Though we had a prototype that did everything we wanted Projecteo to do, we were not ready for manufacturing. To take us through to that next step, we started working with Meso, a product development consultancy in Scotland. With their help and guidance, we made a production prototype.

We now had a model with parts designed to be injection moulded and all components custom made to fit right in the case. The surface finishes are high gloss on top with a textured matte grey bottom. We now also had a production prototype circuit board, the miniaturised version of the electronics we would be able to make at scale. As a final touch, we made the button a bright, fire truck red. Buttons you want to press are always red.

With a working production prototype, the beginnings of tooling and the first sample ready to be injection moulded, the hardware was coming together nicely. But we also had to figure out how you pick your images online. Luckily, we know a thing or two about that.