Interview: Nelson & Niranjan – Pluribus

E Pluribus Unum – Out of One, Many
HP Labs Pluribus – Out of Many projectors, One super-screen

Super-bright, large-scale, and very high-resolution digital projectors are indispensable tools of modern communication. They help CEOs wow audiences of analysts. They make rock concerts intimate. They turn computer gaming into a spectator sport. And they can make digital cinema an instant reality.

They are also very expensive. Prices for high-end projectors run into tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, which keeps these devices from being widely used.

HP Labs’ Nelson Chang and Niranjan Damera-Venkata had a hunch they could make a much cheaper projection system by combining the outputs of several smaller projectors to create a single, high-quality image. They work in the Multimedia Interaction and Understanding Lab in Palo Alto on a project code-named Pluribus.

Seeing Pluribus in action, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the huge, crystal-clear picture it creates. Hook a 16-foot screen up to a game of Madden NFL Football, for example, and the players are life-size – putting you front row and center at the same scale as the real thing.
Although Pluribus looks great, its true appeal lies in the cost savings it offers anyone in the business of projecting large images. How so? For example, Pluribus can combine ten off-the-shelf projectors costing $1,000 each to project an image as bright and sharp as that created by a single high-grade projector costing $100,000.

Once this technology reaches your local Best Buy it will cause the prices of what is possible with high-end home theatre to be reset to a new price-point. You’ll just have to be patient. Hear Nelson and Niranjan discuss their work in the podcast.

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