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Tokman Discusses PicoP Projector

Tokman Discusses PicoP™ Projector: SID Daily News, June 7, 2006

Microvision Anticipates Great Interest in Laser-Powered PicoP Projector


Alexander Tokman, President and CEO of Microvision, previews technology that can coax a laptop-sized display out of your mobile phone screen.

Tell us what’s new with Microvision this year.
We are showcasing an early demonstrator of a miniature laser based projector display, called PicoP. PicoP is being designed to be embedded inside portable mobile devices such as a cell phone or a PDA.This is a response to inquiries to Microvision from hand-set manufacturers who are looking at adding a “big screen” experience for users of mobile personal devices. We are developing a strategy of leveraging our past and present technology developments of an Integrated Photonics Module (IPM)—a display and imaging engine that will be embedded into a variety of exciting industrial, consumer, automotive, healthcare, and military display products. It will be designed so that OEM customers will be able to embed our core technology into their high definition display and imaging products.

How does the IPM display technology work?
We’ve developed what is called a scanned beam display. Unlike most technologies (such as LCD, DLP, etc) we modulate laser light temporally and spatially using a single tiny vibrating silicon mirror to produce an image. We direct this beam of light directly to the retina for wearable displays via suitable relay optics, and to a front or rear screen surface for our projector display applications. The tiny scanning mirror itself is less than approximately one square millimeter in area - about the size of the head of a pin. The micro scanner is designed to scan in both horizontal and vertical directions so that a single beam of light can be precisely steered, in a raster-like fashion, at very high speeds to project a complete video image. With a modular and flexible IPM architecture, we integrate directly modulated lasers, with our electronics, optical combiners and our MEMS micro-mirror.

What would you say are the advantages of the IPM?
The inherent advantages of this architecture include spectacular image quality, small form factor and low power requirements. High optical efficiency of this architecture is the key – a “point” source in a form of a laser and a “point” reflector in a form of MEMS mirror is all you need to produce an image. More efficiency results in higher contrast, richer colors, less required power. As a result, this system dissipates less heat which yields a smaller factor. We designed PicoP using an collimated beam of laser light to achieve a very efficient full-color, hi-resolution high contrast image with almost “infinite” depth of focus. As a result, this product does not require projection lenses, another form factor win. Small projector size and low power are extremely critical to the mobile handset OEMs.

What is the resolution and brightness of PicoP?
PicoP is currently targeted to deliver WGA or SVGA resolution and can achieve about ~20 lumens. The user can display a laptop-sized quality image on surfaces just half a meter away, or project a larger image onto the ceiling of their dark hotel room!

Is the PicoP market ready?
Yes. We are experiencing a strong market pull from global OEMs who are very interested in providing their customers with a portable handset containing an embedded projector to display and share information ranging from multimedia to business applications. Korea and Japan are on the forefront of this pull, Europe is next, followed by US. Due to cheap storage, high bandwidth and processing speed today’s portable devices such as cell phones are capable of running business and multimedia applications that yesterday were only possible on desktop and laptop computers. The dilemma is the small display. The PicoP is intended to address this gap in the emerging global mobility markets.

In sum, what would be the advantages of the PicoP embedded into a cellphone?
Form factor, power requirements, image quality. With Microvision’s IPM embedded into devices such as cell phones or PDAs, the user gets an enriched visual experience and the projected image remains in focus at any distance. The image has brilliant, saturated colors, from spectrally-pure lasers that provide exceptional contrast, giving depth and texture to the image in a continuous and uniform non-pixilated display. This is the ultimate solution for providing a big image from a small package.

Where are you in the development of the PicoP?
We are about a year away from completing a detailed reference design and are targeting product introduction within the next two years. The availability of the commercially viable green laser is a key enabler for this application and we are excited about the progress made by several green laser manufacturers over the past six months.

Are you planning to provide the IPM for products other than mobile phones?
Microvision's Integrated Photonics Module (IPM) is expected to support a variety of product applications from wearable displays for rugged helmet mounted versions for military personnel to future lightweight full-color eyewear for consumers. Additionally, the IPM will be a key component for automotive head-up displays.

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