Smart speakers are becoming common in many households, as consumers continue to adopt Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to connect in-home devices to external and internal networks. In fact, the market for smart speakers is likely to continue its high growth trajectory; Juniper Research predicts that devices like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod and Sonos One will be installed in a majority of U.S. households by the year 2022.
While basic smart speakers use audio for feedback, a new generation of products called smart displays (or smart speakers with display) supplement the user experience with visual content such as how-to videos, recipes and photos. However, large LCD displays are difficult to package into compact in-home speakers. DLP® technology can help designers overcome this issue by enabling projected images rather than housing a screen in the speaker itself.
How smart displays and virtual assistants work together
Similar to the adoption of center console displays in vehicles, consumers are demanding more visual content from their in-home information and entertainment hubs.
Having a simplified visual interface can enhance the content delivered by today’s smart speakers. Displayed images need to be simple, with minimal need for touch interaction, since they are most often viewed by users from a distance of at least several feet away. For example, when you say, “Alexa, what’s on my shopping list?,” the smart display should show text that is large and bright enough to be easily read from far away. Figure 1 shows a display for a video recipe in a kitchen.
Figure 1: Example smart speaker with display in a kitchen
The unique requirements of smart displays
The exact projector specification will depend on factors like preferred image size, type of display surface, form factor required for integration into the end equipment, and distance between the projection unit and display surface. Let’s elaborate on each of these trade-offs:
Projection surface. Not all surfaces in a home are ideal for displaying a projected image. Color, pattern and surface curvature (such as kitchen countertops or wallpaper) may contort or interrupt images. Higher brightness and algorithms like TI DLP IntelliBright™ can help compensate for surface geometry, color and pattern.
Figure 2 provides suggested brightness values for the projector based on image size and different ambient light conditions.
Figure 2: Suggested projector brightness values to achieve various image brightness levels
DLP Pico chipsets for smart display applications
DLP Pico chipsets are available in a broad range of sizes and resolutions to suit different display diagonals, brightness requirements and pixel densities (resolution). Pico projection offers several options for smart displays that include:
These options offer flexibility in the types of surfaces that can display the image, and can be designed for dual use, such as surface projection and ultra-short throw projection in one device. Start your design by evaluating DLP Pico display technology with an evaluation module.
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