I do like technology. I have always been fascinated by it as a kid, and this has not changed. This has influenced my choice of career, and I spend a lot of time working with technology as a result. Yet still, when given the opportunity to see something new, I still jump at the chance.

The specimen is a CRT projector. You can buy a brand new tiny LCD projector these days for $1000, and it will be the size of a phone book. OR, you can be a geek like myself, find someone throwing an old CRT projector.

barco 015

It weighs 165 pounds and it requires 2-3 people to move it. There are essentially three high-intensity computer monitors inside, with giant glass lenses on the front. Each one projects a separate color, and great care must be taken to align the beams. Original cost was $23,995 years ago.

Does any of this make you tingly inside like it does me?

The projector has a BUILT-IN CAMERA. The sole purpose of this camera is for auto-convergence. It will project a bunch of red lines on the screen, and the camera will compare that image to a bunch of green lines. If they don't match up, the projector will shift the red lines to try to match the green. Then it repeats with blue lines, then vertical lines, then keystoning, "seagull" correction, etc etc. Imagine a eye doctor asking “Better or worse? Yah?”. Through trial and error, the projector aligns itself. Watching this 5 minute process seriously reminds me of a trippy rave light show.

I found the entire experience extremely interesting and quite educational. What is so interesting? Many things – how the engineers decided to solve a problem: How can we market a projector that requires complex convergence? Include a camera, and have it automatically do it. I can only imagine the engineer trying to pitch the idea. Must have seemed far-fetched, but it works.