This Raspberry Pi rival can be turned into a pocket-sized projector

Once attached to the BeagleBone Black computer, the $99 DLP LightCrafter can project a 640 x 360 resolution image at a brightness of up to 30 lumens.


The DLP LightCrafter 2000

Image: TI

Remember when projectors were so big they came in suitcases? This pico-projector is so small it sits neatly on top of a pocket-sized computer.

Texas Instrument's (TI) DLP LightCrafter Display 2000 EVM slots into the tiny BeagleBone Black board, a rival to the Raspberry Pi 1 and 2.

Once attached, the $99 LightCrafter can project a 640 x 360 resolution image at a brightness of up to 30 lumens.

The projector can also be connected to a computer using the USB to ISC connector dongle.

SEE: Hardware spotlight: The Raspberry Pi

Like the Pi, the BeagleBone Black can be run as a standalone Linux-based desktop PC, running Android, Debian and Ubuntu.

However, many of the BeagleBone Black's technical specs have since been surpassed by the Raspberry Pi 3, with the BeagleBone Black having a slower, older single-core processor, as well as half the RAM of the Pi 3. It also only has a single USB 2.0 port, micro HDMI and no built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth support.

One notable way the BeagleBone surpasses the Pi is in options for attaching and controlling hardware, with the Beaglebone having 92 pins, split between two headers, compared to the 40 on the Pi. The LightCrafter projector slots into the pin headers on the BeagleBone.

TI describe the LightCrafter as an "easy-to-use, plug-and-play" projector, designed to allow engineers prototyping appliances to try out the TI's projection technology. TI also sells a $20 DLP2000 DMD micromirror array, which allows hardware makers to build the same projection capability into finished products, such as digital signs, smartphones or smart home controllers.

The $55 BeagleBone Black has to be bought separately from the LightCrafter, as does the external 5V, 3A power supply.

Instructions for getting started with the LightCrafter and the BeagleBone Black are available here, with TI recommending BeagleBone users install the latest Debian image for the board, the beta release of which can be downloaded from here. Once the system is set up, the projector can be configured as the external monitor for the BeagleBone using a single I2C command, with more details in the 'Getting started' guide linked above.

Read more about the Raspberry Pi

About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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