PERSONAL TECH

Projector for your carry-on


Published: Monday, December 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 30, 2003 at 10:13 p.m.
Plus Vision, a maker of miniature projectors that have been sold under other companies' brands, has put its own name on a new line of mobile projectors.
At 1.4 inches, the Plus V3 projectors are about as thin as an ultralight laptop computer and weigh about two pounds. Each is no larger than a typical paperback book but can display a picture with a diagonal measurement of 300 inches (that is, 25 feet) at a resolution of 800 by 600 pixels (model V3-111; $1,595) or 1,024 by 768 pixels (V3-131; $2,295). The projectors use digital light processing from Texas Instruments for imaging.
The V3 projectors, which are expected to reach retailers early next month, could easily fit along with a laptop into a single bag, said S.Mark Hand, a marketing executive for Plus Vision (www.plus-vision.com).
While Plus Vision does not promote the projector as a home entertainment component, there is nothing to prevent you from following up work on a PowerPoint presentation with a big-screen showing of a Hollywood blockbuster on DVD.
  • Hearing aid and cell phone call a truce: Wireless technology has not been kind to most people who wear hearing aids: Because the older models lack internal shields to segregate digital frequencies, the devices are vulnerable to interference from cell phones. As a result, some 12 million people around the world are said to hear a buzz or static during cell phone conversations.
    Myers Johnson, a San Francisco company focusing on products that give the hearing-impaired better access to telecommunications, has developed an antenna to banish the annoying garble. The Vortis antenna clips onto the phone and reduces the amount of energy the phone emits laterally toward the user's head, reducing interference and improving clarity. The antenna also increases the phone's signal strength by redirecting the energy toward the front and rear of the user, the company says.
    The antenna, which is expected to reach stores by the end of the year at a suggested price of $79.95, will work with a variety of Nokia phones, and Myers Johnson says it is working with other cell phone manufacturers on potential compatibility. More information on the antenna is available at www.thevortis.com. Myers Johnson says it is preparing a special service package that will include a free phone. For more details, send a message to info@thevortis.com.
  • For the moviemaker and portraitist, a double-duty shooter: Most digital still cameras can shoot short videos, and most digital video cameras can shoot low-resolution stills. Fisher's tiny FVD-C1 pocket camcorder outdoes both, shooting 3.2-megapixel stills and full-motion VGA video with stereo sound - simultaneously, if need be. The camcorder comes with a 512-megabyte Secure Digital memory card that can hold 30 minutes of video (using MPEG-4 compression) or 491 full-resolution JPEG still images. At minimum resolution (640 by 480 pixels, equivalent to a frame of video), the card can hold more than 3,900 still photographs.
    In addition to the memory card, the camcorder, available at Sears for $900, includes a lithium-ion battery good for about an hour of video or 160 3.2-megapixel stills, a charging-docking station with television and U.S.B. 2.0 computer interfaces, software for viewing and editing files and burning them to DVD, and a program that edits the effects of camera shake from video recordings.
    The 6.1-ounce camera's 5.8x zoom lens, equivalent to a 38-to-220-millimeter zoom on a 35-millimeter still camera, can be augmented by 10x digital zoom, and the rotatable color monitor screen has a mirror mode for self-portraits. Filter programs in the camcorder can enhance flesh tones, make subjects slimmer or wider, or add ghostlike motion trails.
    If simultaneous video and audio recording are not enough, the FVD-C1 has one more feature: it can be used as a digital voice recorder that holds nearly nine hours' worth of 16-bit stereo sound (using AAC compression).
  • Looking for the perfect beat? Create one of your own: If years of music lessons have proven unequivocally that your child is not the next Mozart, take heart. With the Mixman DM2, there's still a chance for fame as a decomposer.
    The DM2 (as in squared), newly upgraded by Digital Blue and Mixman Technologies, is a scaled-down version of a club DJ's mixer. It enables the user to take apart a piece of music (provided it is recorded on separate tracks) and reassemble it, using a joystick and buttons to add special effects like reverb, delay and pitch bending and two turntable-like pads to add scratching sounds.
    The $80 device, which is available at retailers or at mixman.com, works only with Windows operating software, plugging into a USB port. It is less an actual mixer than a controller that turns your computer into one, using a version of Mixman Technologies' well-known software.
    The best thing about the DM2 is that no knowledge of music is required. It comes with more than 600 sounds in styles ranging from hip-hop to country, and 30 premixed singles ready to be sliced and diced. More sounds and singles can be purchased at the Mixman site, but those who do know something about music can easily add their own tracks to the mix. So all those lessons might have been worthwhile after all.
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