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Lasers may mean bucks

Lasers may mean bucks

Larry Wilson

Tired of looking at pictures of your friend's dog on a tiny cell phone screen?

If Corning Inc. is successful, you might not have to squint at the latest photo of Daisy any more.

The Twin Tiers' largest employer is in a race to create a commercially viable miniature green laser -- the key to placing tiny projectors in devices such as cell phones, personal digital assistants and laptops.

If the research at Sullivan Park is successful, you could soon see giant photos of your friend's dog -- up to 100 inches in diameter -- projected from a cell phone onto a screen, a wall or a ceiling.

To make a truly miniature projector requires tiny red, blue and green lasers.

Red and blue lasers have already been successfully miniaturized. But without the green, the Lilliputian projector can't produce a true color image.

Corning Inc., of course, is not the only company that has caught onto the commercial potential of miniature green lasers.

Scientists and engineers around the world are looking for the key to trimming the size of the lasers in order to make miniature projectors possible.

Last month at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microvision Inc. of Redmond, Wash., unveiled full-color miniature projectors using green lasers from Corning Inc. and Novalux Inc.

Microvision said in a press release that its miniature projectors are small enough to be inserted in devices such as cell phones.

In such devices, they could produce sharp images as small as a laptop screen or as large as a plasma TV screen, the company claimed.

The projectors would add about $100 to the cost of a cell phone.

It's unclear how much customer demand there would be for the pocket projectors. But market research firm Insight Media estimates 5 million units could be sold by 2009 and 15 million by 2011.

If you don't think it's worth paying another $100 for a cell phone to project pictures of your dog (or your cat or your kids), there are other potential uses for the device.

Once the technology is perfected, it could be used to project Power Point presentations and videos as well as slide shows.

In addition to Corning Inc. and Novalux Inc., companies such as Germany's Osram GmbH are frantically trying to downsize the green laser.

For the winner, there's a potential market of several hundred million dollars a year to be tapped.

For Corning Inc., that would be another step toward the diversification that the Twin Tiers' largest employer has as one of its priorities.


At February 6, 2007 at 11:14 AM Anonymous said...

Psssst!! Wake up the MVIS Press Release coordinator, we need REAL news!

At February 6, 2007 at 8:07 PM Anonymous said... did seem from the CC and CES they were gearing us up for pending news. CES is over and the co. clammed up. a quiet period? hello? juggernaut are you still there............?

At February 6, 2007 at 8:39 PM Ben said...

we're still here...stay tuned for updates!

At February 7, 2007 at 12:47 PM Anonymous said...

this today from BlueRun verntures, who just funded TeraOp $7m (

"We found that TeraOp Displays has an unfair advantage, which enables better, smaller and cheaper personal projectors, and has a real chance of being installed in mass mobile electronic devices."

They're based on MEMS technology too, so what do these guys have that might rival MVIS? Are they serious competition?

At February 7, 2007 at 2:23 PM Anonymous said...

Quiet period in effect??????????????????????????

At February 7, 2007 at 4:27 PM lighttrader said...

If you read the whole article TeraOp says they can make a projector the size of a half a box of matches. They need to develop the technology to get to that point. MVIS is already smaller, think about that! MVIS has patented scanning images with mems technology, without patent imfringements I would not worry. Talk is cheap, MVIS was the only one displaying a pico at CES.

At February 8, 2007 at 12:21 PM Anonymous said...

I sure wish Ben would stop working so much and give us more info. Hopefully you are staying busy because of good things happening and not just laying low.

At February 8, 2007 at 12:28 PM Anonymous said...

I would second that!!!!!


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