Kano Computing is back with another oddball puck device with a creative but somewhat hazy premise. The Stem Projector is a spin-off of the Stem Player, the audio remixing gadget launched in 2021 in collaboration with the artist formerly known as Kanye West. With its new product, the company ditches the problematic Ye collaboration and shifts its focus from music to video.
Practically speaking, the new product is a battery-powered projector for movies or art. The Stem Projector lets you watch regular videos, remix preloaded clips and create visual landscapes. It looks similar to (but is slightly larger than) the Stem Player, as this model is also a fleshy puck with swirling lights and buttons. It has a mini-HDMI port to plug in other devices, and it supports AirPlay and Chromecast. However, it only has a reported maximum brightness of 300 lumens or 150 ANSI lumens, making it a hard sell as a standard projector.
But the Stem Projector also builds on the company’s creative focus, encouraging you to play and remix. For example, you can slide your finger along its haptic, touch-sensitive ring array to channel surf in the machine-learning-powered “Galaxy View,” a dreamlike collection of preloaded and live content. Additional controls let you change the size and shape of the images and trigger similar thematic content. In addition, Kano says it allows you to rotoscope characters and apply filters like splicing together clips with related color themes.
If that description still leaves you confused, this marketing video from Kano’s Twitter account may help:
— STEM (@stemplayer) January 9, 2023
The WiFi-enabled projector has 256GB of internal storage, and you can add more by inserting a microSD card. In addition, the device includes a built-in kickstand, allowing you to prop it up at various angles. (You can project video onto higher walls or a ceiling by placing the device upright in its opened carrying case.) The company says its battery can last four to five hours of continuous use.
It sounds like a gadget you would need to play with to fully understand — and determine whether it’s worth its steep asking price. However, without access to that, we’re left with a somewhat intriguing marketing tease that suggests a “what” but hasn’t yet offered a compelling “why.”
Kano is taking pre-orders now for the Stem Projector. The first 1,000 devices, available in a limited-edition “sediment” color, will cost $1,000 and begin shipping in the spring. After that, the company says its price will drop to $600 at an unannounced date.