DLP Pico Projector Case Study

Extreme Missionary Adventures Pico Projector Case Study

Texas Instruments DLP® Pico Projectors Help Missionaries Spread the Word with “Anywhere, Anytime” Projection in Remotest Corners of the World.

DLP Pico Portability Case Study

  • Client:
    Extreme Missionary Adventures, a non-profit missionary and human services organization dedicated to Christian evangelization and pragmatic charitable works in remote, underdeveloped areas of the world.
  • Challenge:
    Present educational/spiritual movies and other multimedia in very remote areas with limited or no infrastructure.
  • Solution:
    Handheld Optoma Pico Projectors, based on Texas Instruments DLP Pico Projector technology, providing clarity and visibility that literally fits in the palm of one hand.
  • Results:
    Unprecedented portability for missionaries to make presentations almost anywhere at any time. Pico projectors deliver clarity and durability.

Aiming to have a long-lasting spiritual and material impact to improve the lives and conditions of their fellow men throughout the world, Extreme Missionary Adventures (XMA) offers committed volunteers unprecedented opportunities to share their convictions while bringing medical care, construction assistance, education, and other basic needs to remote populations on five continents. These volunteers participate in dozens of weekly trips to the farthest corners of the world, such as Nicaragua, Honduras, Peru, and Zimbabwe, where they give of their talents and time to help people living in the most basic conditions.

These tools are enabling us to literally go to the farthest ends of the earth.

Jay Adcock,
Extreme Missionary Adventures

“We started in the mid-‘90s helping people build churches in Belize,” said Jay Adcock, one of the non-profit’s leaders. “At night, we’d look up into the mountains and see the fires along the hillsides. These were people living without electricity or other basics and we wanted to share our faith with them. That’s really what inspired us to create Extreme Missionary Adventures.”

Unfortunately, it was a very demanding physical challenge for these missionaries to bring their message to the native people in these faraway countries. On many hikes into the mountains, the men actually needed mules to carry upwards of 150 pounds of equipment into the mountains. Once they reached their high-altitude destinations, the missionaries would unload the massive projector, batteries, and computer to display their religious films and other presentations.

…The picture quality we have now – with the Pico units – is better than what we had with the larger projectors, frankly… And we’re still showing at a very large size. It’s not uncommon for us to be showing our films on a village hillside at night, or in a dark house in the jungle to 200-300 people who’ve never previously seen a projected image in their lives.

Jay Adcock,
Extreme Missionary Adventures

“We were pretty old-school back then,” said Adcock. “We had tripods and these big, bulky Pelican cases to store our equipment and we also needed a big generator and a screen. It was a major undertaking to bring this across very challenging terrain. Or, if we were on a boat heading down the Amazon in Peru, we’d be worrying about $4,000 worth of equipment going to the bottom of the river. Once, we hiked seven hours to the top of a mountain in Honduras. One mule slipped and fell and we had to carry it all ourselves. It was just so difficult.”

Seeking A Breakthrough in Portability

After a few years of cumbersome equipment-hauling, XMA’s leadership team knew it was time to rethink the labor intensive transport methods. Adcock and his colleagues soon learned about a new series of miniaturized “Pico” projectors using DLP technology from Texas Instruments. By taking a high-definition DLP imaging chip and shrinking it to the size of a raisin, Texas Instruments has radically redefined how manufacturers can create portable displays. TI’s ultra-tiny DLP Pico chipset enables manufacturers such as Dell, Optoma, Samsung, BenQ, Acer and others to create handheld projectors, notebook computers, toys, XMA purchased nine Pico Projectors from Optoma and has been using them in its field missionary work ever since. “Just last week I used the 301 during my trip to Nicaragua,” said Adcock. “Through trial and error, we found batteries to run them for up to seven hours on a single charge and cell phones, instantly turning any situation into a media-viewing opportunity. The Pico technology has literally shrunk a projector into about the size of a cell phone.

Durability just isn’t an issue so far. And the portability is making our jobs so much easier.

Jay Adcock,
Extreme Missionary Adventures

Sharp Images – Absolutely Anywhere in the World

XMA initially purchased Optoma Pico PK201 models before upgrading to the improved sound and battery life of Optoma’s Pico PK301 palm-sized projector. The 301 features a MicroSD card slot for memory expansion up to 16 GB. It projects widescreen images of up to 120” diagonal and its LED light source lasts more than 20,000 hours while producing excellent color.

And to recharge them, we strap solar panels to our backpacks, so we recharge the batteries while we hike in the daytime. Today, my backpack weighs only 10-12 pounds for the projector, batteries, and external speakers. I don’t even need to bring an iPod – we just pop in the MicroSD card to show the films.”

Brightness and picture sharpness are always a concern, but Adcock doesn’t believe there’s a noticeable tradeoff. “I think the picture quality we have now – with the Pico units – is better than what we had with the larger projectors, frankly,” he said. “Now, I don’t have a trained, professional eye, but these images are great. And we’re still showing at a very large size. It’s not uncommon for us to be showing our films on a village hillside at night, or in a dark house in the jungle to 200-300 people who’ve never previously seen a projected image in their lives. So the impact of them seeing our message on the wall or a hung sheet is simply amazing.”

As great as those images are, it is the size and durability of the projectors that make them popular with the XMA missionaries.  “We keep each projector in a case when it’s not in use, of course,” Adcock said. “But durability just isn’t an issue so far. And the portability is making our jobs so much easier. Since they run on LED, there are no replacement bulbs to worry about and that’s better on battery life, too.

“These tools are enabling us to literally go to the farthest ends of the earth – and that actually helps us recruit new missionaries. When I speak at churches, I use it to show a slide show or video of our work. And I hold up the Pico projector and say, ‘This is what we use in the field.’ We’re doing sometimes two one-week trips a month. Our goal is to be gone about 10 months of the year. On 95 percent of our trips, we use these projectors. Before, we used the video much less frequently because it was so difficult to transport. With the Pico, we’re expanding our missionary work without waiting for the infrastructure to develop.”

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