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Laser Focus World - Laser-scanning HUD requires little power

"At the 2004 Society for Information Display meeting (May 23–28, 2004; Seattle, WA), Microvision Inc. (Bothell, WA) unveiled a prototype of a new head-up display (HUD) for use in cars. This latest system—in its final package—could take up as little as half the volume of displays based on light emitting diodes (LEDs) and liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). It also has a dynamic range of millions to one, offers a power advantage, and can produce bright images without a cooling system. The system uses the windshield as an optical combiner without image distortion or the need for custom optics. Prototypes have been installed in BMW and Audi test vehicles, and Microvision is now working with partners to get the HUDs into car showrooms by 2007 or 2008.

Microvision's technology, the core of which has been used for imagers and personal displays (see Laser Focus World, August 2003, p. 50), has several advantages. First, because the image is produced by just three laser diodes—each of which is scanned by a single biaxial micromechanical mirror—the device is inherently lightweight; adding pixels does not increase bulk. Second, the lasers are modulated so they produce only the light required for a specific pixel at any particular moment. Not only does this mean that the laser diodes require little power, but more important, when they are off, they are completely off."

The article goes on to describe some of the technical challenges to building a laser-based heads-up display for autos -- and how they were overcome by Microvision's engineers.

For the real lowdown on the science behind the Micro-HUD, check out "Microlens array-based exit pupil expander for full color display applications (PDF)" by Hakan Urey and Karlton D. Powell

Big thanks to view from afar.

Microvision's Micro-HUD -- coming soon to your Audi/VW, and BMW dealer.


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