This Lightform Image Mapping Projection Technology Will Help Kill the Under 100″ Screen Market

The responses to my recent blog explaining why I believe the projection SCREEN (not projector, but screens) market is heading for a downward spiral have been mixed — sort of. I heard from systems designers, integrators/dealers and manufacturers. On the manufacturer front, surprise-surprise, the screen manufacturers nearly (I say nearly as ONE agreed with me) all universally disagreed. I got texts, emails and Tweets from screen manufacturers saying that the screen market is doing just fine and that screen sale are, remarkably, up. I’ll address that lie a little later — so hold that thought.

From integrators, the response was overwhelmingly in agreement with me — in counting the actual responses, I received various responses in the form of emails, social media, phone calls and texts. In total, I count approximately 300 — a decent response rate. There were seven that disagreed.

As for systems designers, I heard from 11. Nine of the 11 said they agreed with me and two said they have already stopped specifying screens in all small rooms opting for collaboration boards.

Oh, and before I tell you about something called Lightform, let me go back and address the three screen companies who told me their sales were up (not down) in recent years. As I said, one company spoke quite honestly in how they’d seen a 40 percent decline in screen sizes less than 100″ over the past two years and that 2017 was trending lower as well. Of the three that said sales were up, two admitted that they were down on sizes 80″ and smaller. So, there you go.

Now on to Lightform. Check out this video:

And now, take a look at these:

Note: No screen!

So, this is all using a box from a start-up called Lightform. Lightform is aimed at the consumer and small businesses to make projection mapping cheap and easy (cheap as in only hundreds, not thousands, of dollars) using any projector you want. Basically, it’s a computer that you stick onto the side, top or bottom of a projector and it uses a series of cameras and 3D “image scanners” to figure out what’s in the room — in realtime. (Thus, if the room changes, the projected image adapts automatically.) They call this making a dumb projector smart — using their Lightform box. As you know, with what we use for projection mapping, things inevitably move in the real world, and even slight shifts in the set or projector alignment can noticeably ruin the effect. It currently requires tedious clicking around in clunky software to re-align the content. This is why you typically don’t see projection-mapped installations outside of temporary events.

Lightform aims to offer the first end-to-end workflow for projection mapping, making it possible for a single user to 3D scan, create content and deploy an installation in one sitting. By leveraging computer vision, the company says they automate tedious steps while assisting in the more fun process of content creation. They use 3D info to drive AI-generated effects and real-time filters, which users can quickly integrate into their projects. The experience is designed around one explicit goal: quickly turning 3D scans of the real world into compelling motion content (their words).

Oh, and they are aiming it with use on a low maintenance LED or laser projectors — sound familiar?

Look, the laser projector (and the coming on-slaught of brighter LED projectors) will change everything. Please don’t live in denial. The need for screens will plummet. The use of screens will plummet. You WILL BE ABLE TO PROJECT ON ALMOST ANYTHING. Don’t be caught locking yourself in to the proverbial projection rectangle. Please.

Want to order a Lightform when it ships to test it for yourself? Go here.