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Microvision Announces Availability of Evaluation Kit for MicroHUD Head-Up Display -- HUD -- System

Evaluation kit will allow customers and developers to work with the world's only laser-scanning Head-up Display

BOTHELL, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 24, 2004-- Microvision, Inc. (Nasdaq:MVIS - News) announced today the commercial availability of an evaluation kit featuring its new, compact MicroHUD(TM) head-up display system. The system is a head-up display engineering prototype created to enable users to evaluate the unique benefits of laser scanning technology in a variety of head-up display applications. According to Microvision, because of the small size of its Head-up display package, the system can potentially be applied to both OEM and after-market opportunities. Potential uses include automobiles, light and heavy trucks, rail, public transit, public safety and law enforcement, light aircraft, marine vessels, construction and mining equipment and defense vehicles and equipment.

The MicroHUD evaluation kit, which is available for under $100,000 depending upon quantities ordered, comes packaged in a rugged handheld carrying case containing a projection head unit and a control electronics unit. The head unit contains a laser scanning projection engine utilizing Microvision's third generation, open-air MEMS scanner and a unique proprietary optical design. A red laser diode illumination source provides completely speckle-free high-resolution imagery that is fully readable in bright sunlight and provides greater background transparency in low ambient, or night, conditions than competing backlit displays. The control electronics contain a battery; a Windows CE thin client computer and an 802.11b wireless link, enabling the MicroHUD evaluation kit to be completely portable and easily compatible with a broad range of computer hardware. The MicroHUD evaluation kit can be set up with either a car HUD windscreen or a separate optical combiner element that is included with the system.

"We started our work on HUDs under development contracts to BMW and VW/Audi who have very demanding requirements with respect to performance, package and price," said Todd McIntyre, Microvision's senior vice president of business development, "and we've been successful achieving a combination of these features that is unique in the industry. However, we've created something that can potentially address the need of both OEM and aftermarket customers in many other markets as well. We are already in a position to move down the price curve very aggressively for the evaluation kit even with moderate volumes. This can potentially be a uniquely affordable solution for a range of smaller commercial and private aircraft applications. With GPS and telematics becoming more prevalent in vehicles used in everything from defense to commercial trucking and construction, there are a growing number of potential new applications for a compact head-up display solution. We have already sold advanced MicroHUD prototypes to 3 automotive OEMs and 3 Tier 1 automotive suppliers, and we think it makes great sense to start letting more prospective customers get a first-hand look at the unique advantages of a laser scanning head-up display solution. We are making this easy to buy, easy to set up or install and easy to use, so I think there's a good chance we will see increased interest from a variety of sources."

According to McIntyre, the MicroHUD evaluation kit was developed in response to interest from a variety of customers seeking an affordable high-performance head-up display contained in the smallest package in the industry. Laser scanning offers important performance advantages over flat panel display technology including: exceptionally high contrast ratios especially at night, high resolution, high color saturation, and minimal thermal heat dissipation.

"We think this tool is going to provide an opportunity for customers to work with the system in their own application environments, to learn its advantages and to have a meaningful dialogue with us about price and performance requirements for volume production."
What's exciting to me about this news release is that the company is looking towards aftermarket kits for the MicroHUD. I have seen the MicroHUD in person and it's fantastic. Being able to get a MicroHUD installed in a car that I already own instead of having to shell out for a brand new car makes me happy. The installed base of vehicles in the US alone is in the hundreds of millions. An inexpensive aftermarket solution for a laser heads-up display that is generic enough to install in most types of vehicles will be an enormous success for the company.

It's a smart move to make it clear that we're not just working on MicroHUD for BMW, VW/Audi and undisclosed Tier 1 automotive supplier partners. MicroHUD is a generic solution for high-brightness, high-contrast heads-up information display in all types of vehicles -- including planes, ships, subways and heavy industrial equipment. There's no comparison between a laser-based HUD and and LCD-based HUD as seen in some vehicles today. The lasers are so clear and bright -- and when they're off they're completely off, unlike LCD HUDs which can leave distracting 'shadow' artifacts.


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