Adding Motorized Focus To A Smartphone Projector

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Adding Motorized Focus To A Smartphone Projector

Have you ever seen a smartphone based projector? It is a simple system, usually consisting mainly of a lens, a smartphone, and a box to hold it all in. The image from the smartphone is projected through the lens and onto a surface, magnified. It doesn’t even sound like it should work, but it does. It may not be as bright as a normal projector, but it is a fantastic learning project that can typically be made quite easily.

Pablo Davalos reached out to use to show off the smartphone projector that he and his classmates Ana Carla de Melo Sincaruk and Daiane de Souza Sales, made for school. Their take on the project is quite a bit more detailed and extravagant than most that I’ve seen. You can download their thesis in full (42 page pdf) and read not only about the project itself but also their views on the maker movement as a whole… if you can read portugese. 

They wanted to keep the highly accessible and DIY nature of a smartphone projector, so you can see that this has been made mainly from waste. The main adjustment mechanism was once a cd-rom, which happens to have quite a convenient rack and pinion that can be controlled by simply attaching a couple buttons. With this elegant system, they can drop a phone in, close the box, and adjust the focus without having to open the box back up and fiddle with things.


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I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. find me at

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