Mobile Phone Projector

Mobile Phone Projector

Global developments at enterprises and academic research institutes are soon expected to result in the next-generation pocket sized digital video projectors and miniature projection displays that could well be incorporated into handheld devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and laptops. The projected image will be approximately the size of a laptop screen. This addition to cell phones improve the experience of watching video-clips and pictures. A mobile phone projector called PicoP has been developed by US-based enterprise Microvision.

The system consists of semiconductor lasers with a tiny mirror and is small enough to fit into a mobile phone or an iPod. Cell phone manufacturers such as Nokia are looking to integrate such projectors into their mobile phones.

Lasers and mirrors

PicoP has two main parts—a set of red, blue, and green lasers and a one millimetre mirror across the lasers. The mirror tilts itself on two axes followed by lasers shining on the mirror. The mirror then reflects the pixel of light on to a plain projection surface.

When all three lasers emit light at the highest intensity, white pixels are produced. Black pixels are produced when the lasers are off. The intensities of the laser beams change to produce different colours.

The lasers flash on the mirror to produce two axes to initiate flickering. This, in turn, results in the production of 30 million pixels per second. Each pixel can illuminate a surface for about 20 nanoseconds. Using this laser and single-mirror set-up, the projector paints a scene onto a surface one pixel at a time. The projection is executed at such high speeds that the human eye perceives only a static image or a continuous movie.

Projector varsity

The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology in Germany is working on a similar project where a digital projector is being developed that will be small enough to be incorporated into a mobile phone.

The institute has already built a functioning prototype, which is based on a laser beam flashed at a tilting micro-mirror [Editor's Note: See MVIS + Fraunhofer PR from October 2006]. The picture produced has a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels and it renders the image line by line at high speed. However, this prototype is currently too heavy and large to fit inside a cell phone.

The system only projects red light as the existing technology enables only red laser light to be bright enough for the purpose. This could be mass-produced on a microchip. The microprocessor constantly monitors the projection and makes corrections with a backup laser in case of errors such as the projector moving or vibrating.

It's all in the phone

A laboratory model from Siemens features a built-in projector system within a cell phone. The system enables the projection of a complete keypad or display onto a surface. A special pen assists users to write on a virtual keypad and operate the phone’s functions.

The light–source for the cell phone is a tiny semiconductor laser that emits monochrome light to project a real-time image of the display. Siemens plans to further develop this technology and launch a mobile phone equipped with this system in coming months.

— Dominic K


  1. Two projectors? One for image, the other to display a virtual keyboard or other haptic imput device? Why can't/shouldn't MVIS be the engine of both?


  2. Hi Ben, is there a special shareholders meeting today? I recall reading about one in you post, but don't recall receiving any info about it in the mail. Is there one today?
    Thanks! your blog!

  3. Hi there, thanks for your comment! I wasn't able to attend, but the meeting was held today and I understand that the amendment passed overwhelmingly. This Form 14A has all the information there is about the amendment. Read it.

    Please note that shares authorized in the company's Certificate of Incorporation does not mean that those shares have been issued. The company has the same number of shares outstanding today as they did yesterday and the day before.


  4. Hi Ben
    what can you tell regarding the competition youre having in the mini projectors field, especially, what is your opinion on the explay device, which looks quite similar to the IPM projector, view it here @

    Cheers and best regards
    Roi Paul
    Balu & Bhagira investments

  5. I don,t know what Ben thinks but if you look into this so called competition they can scan an image 7" to 30" that means that at 30" it will be washed out big time. They will not compete with full laser projection. Not to mention the size of the projector is bigger. With the fact that it is inferior to mvis it would have to be much cheaper and I doubt that it will be. I probably have to focus this unit as well.

  6. the explay device on that site is configured to use a combination laser and led light source. with the advance in the green laser, other companies will also benefit in form factor and improved brightness that the geen laser will provide.

  7. LCD displays are at half the resolution of pico and twice the size. Lasors will not help them in these areas. Not to mention pico will be at least 1/3 of the cost.


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