Smart Forstars concept car has built-in movie projector (video)

DETROIT—Even if you weren’t alive when drive-in movie theaters existed, the 21st century’s answer to outdoor movie-watching may be Smart’s Forstars, an all-electric concept vehicle with a projector built into the hood (complete with pop-up light) for displaying iPhone videos on a large, flat surface, such as a blank wall or a neatly pruned hedge. While most concept cars are rife with stunning-yet-impractical design, impossible technology, and disappearing (or flyaway) doors, the Smart Forstars concept—while wacky—is at least feasible. The design is also a welcome departure from the cutesy Smart production cars.

Smart
Smart’s Forstars all-electric concept vehicle

The Forstars is larger than current Smart cars: It’s 23.7 inches longer and 3.5 inches wider, which is significant when it comes to interior storage space. It’s also much more stylish in my opinion, with a sweeping body, a gloss-and-matte finish in “alubeam rouge” and titanium, and “eyelids” on its headlights to give it more of a scowl, rather than the purely smiling face that most Smart cars have.

But it’s the Forstars’ built-in technology that’s intriguing. The concept vehicle has a projector—that’s right, an old-school video projector—built into its hood. The idea is that you’ll be able to drive up to a blank wall, turn on the projector (it has a pop-up light, and everything), and enjoy cinematic amazingness directly from your iPhone via Bluetooth.

Smart
The Smart Forstars concept car has a projector built into its hood.

According to Dr. Annette Winkler, the head of Smart, the Smart Forstars can “transform any gray backyard into an animated open-air cinema.” The name “Forstars” refers to this cinematic star-watching ability, as well as the other type of star-watching: The Forstars also has an all-glass roof for stargazing. The car features a premium sound system, with additional loudspeakers built into the ventilation behind the doors.

The Forstars is an all-electric car running on a 60-kilowatt electric motor. It’s powered by a lithium ion battery and can reach a maximum speed of 80 miles per hour. It has a smartphone app to help you manage its electrical charge and other settings, such as pre-conditioning pre-heating or pre-cooling the car while it’s plugged in, so it doesn’t use up off-grid battery life on climate controls.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
The all-electric Smart Forstars concept has a smartphone app to help manage its charge.

The Forstars charges via a standard domestic outlet. The back left headlight houses the charging port, while the back right headlight has storage space for an energy drink. (Don’t ask…it’s a concept, after all.) Though the Forstars is purely concept, and Smart has no word on when—or if—we’ll see the car on the market, it’s not an impossible dream. After all, the Forstars doesn’t have any technology that still needs to be perfected (such as Smart’s earlier Forvision concept vehicle, which features transparent solar cells in the roof).

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