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Green-laser micro-projectors green-lighted

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Your mobile phone may one day include a projector capable of displaying 100-inch images, thanks to laser-maker Corning and projector-designer Microvision.

In a joint statement, the two companies announced that Corning will supply its G-1000 green lasers to Microvision for use in that company's pico projectors.

Green lasers have been the missing component of Macrovision's minuscule laser-based projectors such as their Show WX, which we reported on early this year.

As every schoolchild learns, the primary colors of projected light are red, green, and blue - RGB. R and B lasers have been around for some time, but it's taken longer than expected to create those pesky Gs in manufacturable quantities.

Corning first demonstrated its G-1000 green laser at a meeting of the Society for Information Display in May of 2008. But it's taken them nearly a year to get their manufacturing process perfected to the degree needed to produce them in quantity.

Microvision's Class-2 laser pico projector has one distinct advantage over tiny projectors built using DLP (digital light processing) technology from Texas Instruments, which have been integrated into a mobile phone by Samsung and a "travel projector" by Acer - namely that lasers don't need optics to focus at different distances.

No matter how close or how far you hold a laser-based pico projector from the surface upon which it's casting its image, that image will be in focus. This capability also means that the image will be in focus on curved surfaces as well as angled ones.

And Microvision's PicoP Display Engine is small - very small. Microvision lists the size of its evaluation kit (PDF) as 60-by-68-by-10 millimeters (2.36-by-2.68-by-0.39 inches), but EETimes reports that the OEM version will be squeezed into a 20-by-40-by-7 millimeter (0.79-by-1.57-by-0.28 inches) package.

That's plenty small enough to be either embedded into a mobile phone or used in a standalone device that carries its own battery.

Microvision told us that they would work with OEMs to get the PicoP-equipped devices in users' hands by the end of this year. With bulk shipments of the G-1000 green lasers scheduled to wing their way to the company's Redmond, Washington headquarters in mid-year, it looks as if they may meet that goal. ®

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