Smart speakers with pico projectors and 3D sensing features due in 2018

Smart speakers coming in 2018 will have more functions, including 3D lenses for increased distances sensing accuracy and features like integrated pico projectors.

Trade publication DigiTimes reported today that a number of Taiwan-based hardware suppliers are currently developing pico-projection modules and 3D lenses that industry sources claim will be incorporated into smart speaker devices coming next year.

Lite-On Technology could develop invisible LED discreet components for 3D lenses based on time-of-flight sensors, the report added. Such lenses are said to “help users’ space and distance sensing accuracy or enhance the surveillance capability of smart speaker products.”

Shipments of those modules are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018 at the earliest.

Nikkei Asian Review speculated that a future HomePod might use facial recognition which would presumably require some sort of dedicated 3D sensing hardware to make the gadget easier to use and people’s lives more convenient.

However, Apple’s Siri-driven HomePod smart speaker won’t be arriving in December as originally promised because the company needs a little more time to finalize the product.