Microvision protoypes iPhone-sized projector
Can you wait a year?
Macworld Expo Microvision, the Redmond-based creator of mobile display systems, chose Macworld Expo to unveil a prototype of its latest - and smallest - laser-based projector.
How small is small? In this case, quite small, indeed.
This 25 per cent slimmer version of Microvision’s earlier Show prototype, now code named Show WX (for, argh, "wide experience"), is 11.8cm by 6cm by 1.4cm and weighs about 4.5 ounces. That 25 per cent reduction may not sound like much, but it promotes the device from being merely "really, really small" to "hey, that fits in my pocket."
Actually, that's a rather small hand
It's smartphone sized. An iPhone 3G, for comparison, is 11.6cm by 6.21cm by 1.23cm and weighs 4.7 ounces, and a BlackBerry Bold is 11.4cm by 6.6cm by 1.5cm and weighs 4.8 ounces. In the opinion of Ian Brown, Microvision's VP Sales & Marketing: "Other projectors in the past may have called themselves pocket projectors, but they're still bricks." He may be biased, but he's right. If and when the Show MX graduates from prototype to product, it may be the world's first truly "pocketable" projector.
The Show WX uses Microvision's laser-based PicoP Display Engine to project a 16:9 WVGA (848 by 480) image on any surface. As Brown describes it, the PicoP is "a little engine about the size of my thumb that has three lasers: red, green, and blue. They're combined optically to create a single point of white light, and that point is then beamed onto a MEMS mirror, which is articulated both vertically and horizontally, and by the means of electromagnetic fields we can fluctuate [the beam's intensity]."
The mirror is one millimeter in size. That might sound small, but it's huge in comparison to digital micromirror device (DMD) chips used in digital light processing (DLP) systems such as TV and projectors. DMDs can have over two million mirrors on a single chip. The difference between a DMD chip and Microvision's PicoP is that in a DLP system, each mirror corresponds to a single display pixel. In the Show WX, on the other hand, a single mirror handles the aiming of the laser beam as it scans horizontally and vertically to project the rows and columns of the video image.
In addition to the PicoP projection engine, the Show WX includes support circuitry and a lithium ion battery which can power the device for about two hours, which Brown described as "movie-capable."
Next page: It Shoots Frickin' Laser Beams
so where's my laser TV?
if they can make a projector, they can make a lightweight HDTV that uses the laser technology in a larger panel. If it costs $400 to make it that small, they should be able to deliver a widescreen LCD or plasma killer for not much more cost.
I'd heard there were problems getting the blue laser to have longevity. Have they resolved this or is the pocket projector intended for relatively short runtimes and short service life?
If so, can the laser elements be replaced? And if they don't need replacing, can we see the end of the constant bulb-burnouts and replacement for all the PC projectors Management loves around here?
Video in action
@AC 09:06 : Not sure if they put it online but BBC news have been showing a feature from CES all day and it includes a clip of the projector playing a video of an iPod ( or iPhone ). Didn't look too bad, not that much contrast but enough of it to be impressed.
@AC 10:25 : If you stare directly into one ofcourse it will harm your eyes, but the same thing applies to any bright light source - be it an incandescent light bulb, a standard projector , the sun or a laser pointer.
@Stu : In general, properly engineered solutions using lasers will always vastly out perform LEDs.
Tech is more exciting than Paris, isn't it!
This tech moves so slowly. Anyway, it'll be cool to share video of my family without needing to find a TV and cables. It could just shoot out the back of the camcorder or my phone. Just seems like we should've had this several years ago. I mean, lasers have been around for a half a century now.
Have you finished with the code review? Can I move onto the refactor now?
When this becomes a low common denominator, there will be nuisance incidents regarding pron and other objectionable material. On the ceiling of the bus, the classroom, outside the church, etc.
You can count on human behavior every time...