Raising the intelligence of smart homes with interactive projection displays


When most people think of using projection technology at home, they usually envision a high-tech home theater installation.  The rise of the smart home and the Internet of Things (IoT) are introducing consumers to a new way to view displays.

Smart homes and the IoT are bringing greater connectivity and intelligence to many everyday devices, ranging from air conditioners and home security systems to cooktops and refrigerators. The next generation of smart home devices like these will probably start integrating projection display technologies to improve human-machine interface in smart systems.

Projection displays for the smart home

Embeddable, rugged, and energy-efficient projection technology offers a powerful and effective way for smart home devices to present information and allows the user to interact using simple touch and gesture interfaces.

For example, instead of walking to the clothes dryer to see how much time remains, you could simply wave your hand at a projected display in the kitchen to see when your laundry will be ready.

You could adjust your thermostat, set your sprinkler system, check the inventory of your refrigerator, look up a recipe, pre-heat the oven, and see who is at the front door – all from the very same display and with some quick finger taps or hand gestures.

The actual projection displays could take many forms. The display could be projected through an existing home theater solution onto a screen. Perhaps the display is embedded in a light fixture and projected onto a wall or counter top. Or maybe a small projector pops out of a wall for use only when needed. When it’s not in use, it tucks away out of sight to preserve aesthetics. 

What’s needed from a smart home display

For designers, there are a few things to keep in mind when developing smart home displays. Image quality is perhaps the most important consideration when designing any sort of display technology, given the range of potential environmental factors in a home setting like varying surfaces. The high contrast and color gamut of TI DLP® Pico™ technology enables vibrant images with a high fill factor for smooth, detailed images.

Developers should also anticipate the demand for flexible and scalable projection solutions capable of displaying on various surface sizes, from very short distances, and with good resolution. This requirement must be coupled with a compact optical engine that can be integrated into appliances without compromising existing size and aesthetics.

Optical efficiency is another area where high brightness with low power and minimal thermal design are important. 

At TI, we offer a broad portfolio of DLP Pico display chipsets and evaluation modules featuring a range of sizes and resolutions to help get you started. Our DLP Pico technology, built on an array of highly reflective aluminum micromirrors known as a digital micromirror device (DMD), offers several compelling features for developers looking to incorporate projection displays in their smart home device designs. I also encourage you to visit our E2E™ Support Community to ask questions, share knowledge and explore ideas with fellow engineers and TI experts.

It goes without saying that smart home technology is already making an impact. However, adding interactive displays to the mix could fundamentally change how we all live in the future. I’m excited to see how application developers tap the potential of projection technology to make the smart home truly intelligent.  

Want to start designing today? Read more about how Pico projection technology can replace buttons, tablets, LCD panels and mechanical knobs in virtually every room of the house in this white paper.