Unveiled at CES 2016, the ASU Cast one is a smartwatch that has a built-in 1280x800 projector which allows you to project onto your hand, or even watch a movie while out camping. ASU is a Chinese company, and you can currently get your hands on one of these watches for 2,999 yuan, or US$460. Don't let the price scare you away, this watch can do a lot more than simply be a watch. Check out the video below to see all that you can do with it.
On first seeing this video, I have a few questions about how practical this technology is, or how useful it would actually end up being. Sure, having a screen projected onto your wrist is awesome, but how well does it work in bright environments, and how long does the battery last? It would also appear that there is no face to the watch, so you can literally only use it in projection mode. Lastly, (I'll stop being so critical soon) you have to tilt your wrist up to allow the projection to work, which kind of seems like a fast track to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Anyway, I know it doesn't sound like it, but this smartwatch seems like it would be pretty awesome to own. Once you make it over what may be the annoying quirks, having a tiny little projector can end up being very useful in your daily life. Imagine being able to watch those Youtube videos on a huge projection screen wherever you are. By far the coolest feature in my opinion that this watch has is the ability to project maps and directions onto your car's windshield. Having a 'holographic' display feature makes this watch seem a little more worth it.
[Image Source: ASU]
In the end, this device will probably be relegated to novelty, but it does show the path that wearables and other mobile technologies are headed. If you can get your hands on a wristwatch-sized projector now, imagine what will exist in just 5 years time. Soon, smartphones could be completely integrated into a small wearable device, and our ancestors will look upon the bulky smartphone like we currently look back on all the technologies of the 1990s.
Written by Trevor English