Pico-projectors Almost Ready for Prime Time

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Mobile projectors have been shrinking in size for years now, with the smallest models on the market right now being not much larger than a CD case. While these are travel friendly, the ultimate business travelers still want something smaller, perhaps even built into a notebook or cell phone.

This week at CTIA, two companies were showing off incredible advances in this technology, bringing projector technology into devices no bigger than a cell phone or iPod.

Texas Instruments

Texas Instruments brought its DLP technology to the table, bringing the component size down by an incredible amount, letting its developers build a projector into a gutted concept cell phone.

While this prototype is just a simple working model, it shows just how small TI can make them once they get companies on board who want this technology inside their products.

to the right is a video showing a demo of the TI phone prototype in action. Please note that the phone was not functional, except for the projector.


Microvision was also showing off a prototype micro projector, with its model being more refined, almost to the point of being a finished product.

The model is based off a technology that uses three laser modules that fire at a wobbling mirror which scans lines on whatever surface the projector is pointed at.

Compared to the Texas Instruments version, this has a few advantages, such as giving a much brighter screen, no focusing adjustment needed as the distance from the wall changed, and in dark rooms made viewable screens upwards of 80-90".

Microvision plans on selling the external projector for the first generation, and then moving to internal projectors for cell phones or notebooks when the technology becomes more refined.

To the left is a video showing the Microvision Pico Projector in action. In both settings they are showing off an iPod Nano connected to it, but in one clip the video is paused.

At this time Microvision is the only company with set plans on releasing its product in the upcoming months.





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