Feeds

Projector on a smartphone? There's a chip for that

Route all power to forward phasers!

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Caltech researchers have demonstrated a chip they hope will one day let smartphones act as projectors.

Instead of the light sources, image and lenses needed for a traditional projector, the Caltech chip uses an optical phased array (OPA) to create a projected image from a single laser diode – along the way eliminating the need for moving parts.

The OPA uses electrical signals to adjust the coherence of light waves on the chip's surface. As the Caltech announcement states:

“The researchers ... 'bend' the light waves on the surface of the chip without lenses or the use of any mechanical movement. If two waves are coherent in the direction of propagation—meaning that the peaks and troughs of one wave are exactly aligned with those of the second wave—the waves combine, resulting in one wave, a beam with twice the amplitude and four times the energy as the initial wave, moving in the direction of the coherent waves.”

Caltech's phased array chip

Ali Hajimri's optical phased array. Image: Caltech

The chip controls the light beam by putting different numbers of electrons in the beam's path, changing the timing of light in the path. “The light is then projected from each array in the grid, the individual array beams combining coherently in the air to form a single light beam and a spot on the screen,” Caltech says.

In essence, the array creates a “light pen” that draws an image on a target surface as lots of discrete lines – but quickly enough that the human eye resolves the lines as a single image.

Currently, the researchers say, the OPA is only large enough for simple line images, however, by scaling up the chips, they expect to improve the resolution and complexity of the images they can create.

For their experiments, the group, led by professor Ali Hajimri, used infrared laser for the light source, because that let them work with cheap silicon. However, the same architecture can be used with other semiconductor compounds to create visible “light pen” projectors.

Hajimri added that similar technology could be used to vastly simplify light-based radar (LIDAR) systems. The chip was demonstrated at the Optical Fiber Communication (OFC) conference in San Francisco on March 10. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Sporty in all but name: Peugeot 308 e-THP 110
Car of the Year? Arguably. Engine of the Year? Indubitably
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.