Augment Your Reality With The iTorch raspberry pi flashlight projector

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UPDATE: May 3rd - Playing Minecraft on the newer iTorch :)

UPDATE: NEW iTorch 3D printed version! && Finally uploaded some videos, hope you like them. :)

Post by ITorch Media Sharing.


Media Sharing

Created By: Travis Higgins
This Instructable is for a prototype homemade projector that can be illuminated by any decent LED flashlight/floodlight.

This is my first published instructable so please leave comments and/or suggestions! Any feedback is very welcome and I will try to respond to everyone as soon as I see it!

At this stage the iTorch is a kit that I hope to be able to make available if I were to somehow get my hands on my own laser cutter. I have been spending a good amount of money using school equipment to laser cut this project, and got a quote to use the 3d printer and the price was astronomical. So needless to say a laser cutter and 3d printer would go to good use and be greatly appreciated.

Though you could probably reverse engineer one of your own. ;)

I designed the iTorch to be a portable and wireless projection system that would allow a user to freely project their media wherever they choose. I am currently working on integrating the iTorch into a gaming platform where the iTorch is both the viewing device (tv) as well as the controller!

The concept for the iTorch came from trying to find a financial solution for another larger scale project I had been working on. A interactive and holographic environment that would have required the use of several costly projection systems.

However financing the project has been an issue. So I tried to redesign the installation on a smaller scale. Though a small scale solution may have conveyed the idea, it would not have allowed anyone to have the full experience.

I needed projectors, and they aren't cheap, so I thought I would build my own.

In creating these projectors I came up with the idea for a portable battery powered projector that was illuminated by the power of a flashlight.

From personal experience with projection, and researching the purchase of several projector units I found that the main issue for projector longevity were their bulbs. The light bulb in a projector seems to be the most common part to break or burn out in the life of a projector, but with the iTorch - if you have another flashlight you are good to go!

The iTorch design was created and built by Travis Higgins for a capstone project in New Media at the University of Maine. In development of virtual reality shared experiences (shared augmented reality). The iTorch was designed to be a portable and wireless projection system that would allow a user to freely project their media ( or augmented data) wherever they choose.



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MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago
Hello nsuarez19, good question, I'd really like to make it into a commercial product and put it on the shelves at best buy or something haha.. I would also love to be able to mass produce kits, both laser cut and 3d print versions. I'm just not 100% sure if anyone would be interested. Plus I'm constantly working on the design, redesigning reprinting and always going back to the drawing board. More comments like yours are a definite help to motivate me and potentially get my butt in gear getting the iTorch out there and available for people. :)
MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago
This is what I've been working on mostly though, newest model of the iTorch! Over 50% smaller, wayyy lighter, far less light bleeding, 3 step build kit. :)
14, 9:25 AM.jpg

when will this come out!

MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago
Thanks for the input plucas1, I have been experimenting with tying everything into one power source. Unfortunately my local radioshack has a very limited selection. Which leaves me to make my own battery pack, like the ones you can find here at!
plucas19 months ago

hey nice work, I really like your work so far

I would change one thing though and use a 12volt lipo pack with a regulator for the 5v and 9volt rails. the reasons for this is 2 fold, I really don't want to pay for 3 battery packs and pi's and LCD's like a constant voltage. the fans will probably take up to 15volt depending on quality, make, etc.

plucas1 plucas19 months ago

actually your LCD handles 6-15volt so you could run that of the 12volt too saving on precious room. yes the batteries will deplete faster but if its about portability then downsize on batteries

MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago
Thanks Jim. I was using it for reflection and heat dispersal. Maybe I will paint it white for a better effect! On the first model I used half reflective tape and half tin foil.
jim_lewis19 months ago

You will get better results using white paint inside, instead of foil, unless your foil is serving an additonal function as heat dispersal. Foil isn't actually all that reflective.

MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago
MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago
I am familiar, currently that is on the back burner for now. We have a objet printer here at school, unfortunately pricing is quite high. So die to that and the fact that I'm working on a newer version that has improved performance, getting a finished 3d model made to print for this build may have to wait another week or two. Thanks for taking the time to comment aternes1!
aternes9 months ago
if you are familiar with CAD programs, you can probably design your housing in 3D the get it printed from the website Shapeways.
MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago

iTorch Kit fresh cut! Who wants one? :)

MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago
I have thought about it Blue_Hawaii, I don't know if anyone would give me money though haha. It has been a struggle to find the funds to keep developing. But that only makes things interesting, and let's me try to find creative ways to solve arising problems. :)
Blue Hawaii9 months ago
Thought about doing a Kickstarter to get the funding you need to go big time?
MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago
Thanks for the comment craftclarity! I have had a hard time choosing between lead images and keep switching between the logo and the cutout of the actual prototype.. Now that you've mentioned that I think I'll leave the prototype up more!
craftclarity9 months ago

I really like this project—I bet it would get more attention if the lead image told the story of what it actually is, though. I wouldn't have known what you were talking about if I hadn't clicked through...You might consider putting a nicer lead image up.
Other than that, cool build, great 'ible! Keep 'em coming!

MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago
I'm currently working on using the iTorch in a game platform. Where the iTorch is both the viewing device as well as the controller!
MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago
Thanks Ron! You certainly have a grasp on what I'm going for, many possibilities indeed. Some of them I talk about in my blog has more info.
And thanks for pointing that out about the prices, i added links to most of the items but forgot prices, I should add that right away! :)
LCD - 45$
Raspberry pi - 35$
SD card - 10-20$
SuperBright flashlight - 50$ + batteries = 80$
Wood material( all together for prototyping builds) 250$
One iTorch wood material - 3-4$
Total fabrication lab time (r&d access to laser cutter) 10$/hr- 150-250$
Fab time for 1 iTorch - 5$
Misc parts from RadioShack - fan/ batteries / adapter - $40

So I guess for one iTorch without all the research and development time in the lab would cost approximately $200-220.
ron_elicit9 months ago

I was thinking "iTorch" in the sense of computer-enabled flashlight (the British call a flashlight a "torch").

Being able to make your own DIY handheld projector is fun, but what is most exciting to me is the possibility for sharing a media experience with friends in a dark room or city at night. Make a dozen of these and I can see kids using them to create a puppet or planetarium show; or perhaps each person has a puzzle piece and needs to coordinate with the other participants to complete the puzzle.

How much do all the ingredients currently cost?

MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago
Does anyone like the Ghostbusters poster? :)
MrTravisHiggins (author) 9 months ago
The raspberry pi definitely gives the iTorch more possibilities. But the iTorch is a flashlight powered projector that can take composite input currently. Developing a small computer/media processor for the iTorch could be in the future.
cudy7899 months ago
Would I be correct and assume this is more of a raspberry pi powered projector? iTorch is kinda misleading to me, but interesting intructable none the less.