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On Display, the Video Frontier

Phone as Projector

At the trade show that introduced the VCR and DVD, the perennial question on the show floor always seems to be, “What’s next?”

Alexander Tokman, president and chief executive of Microvision, a light-scanning technology company based in Redmond, Wash., thinks he may have the answer: a projector that turns cellphone video into a big picture.

Mr. Tokman said his new chip-size color laser projection displays are intended to be embedded in mobile devices so they can project images on flat surfaces. A demonstration showed a prototype in a mock cellphone beaming clear video images on a screen about the size of a standard laptop computer’s.

Microvision executives said the projector, which does not use a lens, projects images by scanning them top to bottom and back and forth faster than the eye can detect. It is also capable of “infinite focus,” meaning the images stay in focus at any distance, even on curved and uneven surfaces. This, Mr. Tokman said, also helps the projector to display large images without their becoming pixilated.

He said the projector “can eliminate the bottleneck” that limits the appeal of games and video content that is increasingly migrating to cellphones and other mobile devices.

The company plans to release the technology first as a stand-alone accessory for mobile devices later this year, said Matt Nichols, a company spokesman.

By 2008, he said, Microvision hopes to see the projectors embedded in leading cellphones.

One thing not on display was any estimate of what consumers might expect to pay.

MICHEL MARRIOTT

3 comments:

At January 11, 2007 at 1:13 PM Anonymous said...

Ben,
PicoP is very exciting, but what has happened to the approach where the image is projected onto the retina of the eye? Is that still in the works or has it proven unfeasible?
Brian Kosmal

 
At January 11, 2007 at 1:29 PM Ben said...

Hi Brian,

thanks for writing. We're continuing to develop wearable displays that will use the Integrated Photonics Module technology. We are under contract to the US Gov't for development of helmet-mounted and eyewear displays and are making great progress.

Thanks,
Ben

 
At January 11, 2007 at 2:02 PM Anonymous said...

Ben,
Following the conclusion of CES, do you expect that a Microvision rep like CEO Tokman will give us a "wrap-up" of how much advantage we have gained by our activities at CES?

 

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