One of the cool gadgets I have used is the Stem Player. It is a soft puck-shaped device that can be used to manipulate parts of a song. I wasn't a fan of the Stem Player because it was linked to the artist formerly known as Ye who has taken an extremely antisemitic turn.

The Stem Projector is a video projector that is different from the other Stem devices because it is a video projector. Stem food is one of the wild future concepts teased by the company.

The projector is similar to the Stem Player in that it is a small circular puck. There are six buttons and a ring for controls. You can put your own content on the hard drive and add more storage with a microSD card slot. It has a mini-HDMI port that can be used as a projector for a game console, and it supports cellular and wi-fi connections.

A photo of the Stem Projector.
It kind of looks like a UFO.
Image: Kano

It seems like it won't be as bright as others. In an interview with The Verge, Alex Klein, CEO of Kano, said the projector has a maximum brightness of 300 or 150ANSI. The stem projector will be dimmer. The onboard battery lasts for four to five hours at full brightness and continuous use, so you can watch a fair amount of content on a single charge. The Freestyle doesn't have a battery, so it has an advantage over it.

Klein said that it will have some pre-packaged content. He said that they were working with some of the best directors in the world, as well as some of the most interesting libraries.

Klein showed me a few videos from his phone and talked about how to use it, even though he hasn't tried it himself. It isn't like your typical projector, so I'll let him describe it.

When you boot up the projector, you just get a specific piece of content. A frame from it right in front of you. As you spin the ring, you go through other content that’s in there. Some of it has been added by us. Some of it is algorithmically added. Some of [the content is] live channels as well, so we’ve got James Terrell-style artworks, wall savers, so like screen savers for your wall. And then you press the middle button, the content starts to play. If you press it again, it pauses, and that frame becomes the preview of the film. So it’s a very exploratory [and] ambient way of enjoying video and movies where you’re getting immediately into it right away. 

Klein said that using machine learning, the projector is supposed to tag objects in video so that you can view a stream of associated clips. The device will serve more content with trees and plants to create this ambient dream of different versions of the thing that you were looking at from different films. Sam Barlow's new game Immortality has you explore film clips by clicking on objects to see a related object in a different scene.

You can watch the ad to see how the device works.

The bigger vision for the projector is to build a device that gets your head out of your phone. We use our phones to look down. He said that they were looking at their hands. The projector makes you look up. You are paying attention. People looking up and looking out and looking at things together is something we want to bring into the world.

We will have to see if the Stem Projector can make up for a dim display. The first 1,000 devices of the projector will be available for pre-order on Monday.

I wanted to know if Ye was involved in the project at all. The company's collaboration with the rapper, which included making the Stem Player the exclusive home of Donda 2, has ended, according to Klein. The new medium of Stem was innovative and different. That will always be a wonderful moment. There is no active collaboration now because of the horrible things that have been said. Klein said that there are no plans to put new Ye content on future devices.

One of the upcoming releases is a projector. The Stem Players will be getting exclusive music from Ghostface Killah. You will be able to sign up for a monthly subscription that will give you access to music, mini documentaries, and an exclusive concert when those ships in February, Klein said in an email.

Stem is a new kind of consumer product idea that will be revealed in January, February and March. He said that the company is working on things other than gadgets, like boots and a food product.

I told him what that meant. There is an overlap between design and product development today. The shape and form of physical devices can be printed and molded. The way in which Stem Player responds to your touch and movement could affect how a garment works.

He said that the dream is to unify the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the devices you use, and even the spaces in which you live into a single integrated, designed system. Apple products bring simplicity to one part of your life. Imagine if that unification could encompass the exact size and fit of your clothes, the exact nutrition of your food.

A photo of the Stem Projector beaming an image onto a wall.
A projection from the Stem Projector.
Image: Kano

I am not sure if a unified system can be pulled off. It is a much smaller company than the tech giants that have tried and failed to pull off something like this. Apple, one of the biggest companies in the world, seems to be hitting some limits because of the limited number of tech gadgets it has.

I get the impression from speaking with Klein that he wants to change the direction of the company. The Stem Player was a good start. I don't know if Stem food is good.