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MVIS in Laser Focus World

No conventional display components are used in a laser-scanning system that is being developed by Microvision (Bothell, WA). The MicroHUD, uses a laser and the company’s MEMS-based laser-beam-steering technology in a system aimed at the auto market (see Fig. 2). Tom Sanko, Microvision’s vice president of marketing, explains that the single laser diode is cooler and more efficient than ganged LEDs used to backlight a display. “It enables an extremely high contrast ratio,” he notes. “There is no hazy glow on the windshield like you have with backlit LCD systems; all you see is the display content, such as navigation arrows, speed, and so on.”

“The MicroHUD will work with any windshield,” says Sanko. “We have the ability to shape the beam and predistort and displace the video.” This capability eases installation labor.

Head-mounted and see-through

The MicroHUD is actually an extension of Microvision’s already commercialized head-mounted HUD. The company’s first product, the Nomad Expert Technician System, includes a 4.5-oz HUD, either mounted on the brim of a baseball cap or integrated into a headband, providing a monochrome SVGA image. The system includes a wireless Windows CE-based computer that connects to the dealership’s computer system. Without leaving the vehicle, a service technician can use the belt-mounted control unit and the HUD to access electronic repair manuals, work orders, vehicle history, parts inventory, or e-mail.

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