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Microvision Announces $750,000 Contract for High-Definition Eyewear Display Solution Development

REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Microvision, Inc. (NASDAQ: MVIS - News), a global leader in innovative ultra-miniature projection display and imaging products today announced that it has been awarded a $750,000 contract to perform initial engineering tasks that support development of a High-Definition (HD), full-color, see-through eyewear display. The name of the customer was not released for confidentiality reasons.

The development effort includes demonstration of a unique design approach of a HD system based upon Microvision’s PicoP display engine technology. The work under the contract is consistent with Microvision’s continued development of a lightweight see-through optical system and could lead to a variety of eyewear display applications.

Microvision’s eyewear display platform is being designed to combine its miniature PicoP display engine technology with clear eyewear optics that channel light and direct it to the viewer’s eye creating a bright, full color, see-through image while maintaining a transparent view of the surroundings. In addition to the see-through capability, this platform is expected to be differentiated from competitive offerings by its attractive ergonomics and ease-of-use.

“Customers are seeking new ways to deliver real-time, mission critical information,” stated Ian Brown, Microvision VP of Marketing and Sales. “We believe Microvision’s PicoP-enabled eyewear technology could provide competitive advantages for these customers due to its inherent qualities of high-brightness, compact form-factor, full-color and see-through clarity.”

About Microvision
Microvision provides the PicoP display technology platform designed to enable next-generation display and imaging products for Pico projectors, vehicle displays, and wearable displays that interface with mobile devices. The company also manufactures and sells its bar code scanner product line which features the company's proprietary MEMS technology.

Forward Looking Statement

Certain statements contained in this release, including those relating to product development, potential product benefits, and statements using words such as “expect”, “could” and "believe," are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the company's forward-looking statements include the following: capital market risks, our ability to raise additional capital when needed; market acceptance of our technologies and products; our financial and technical resources relative to those of our competitors; our ability to keep up with rapid technological change; our dependence on the defense industry and a limited number of government development contracts; government regulation of our technologies; our ability to enforce our intellectual property rights and protect our proprietary technologies; the ability to obtain additional contract awards; the timing of commercial product launches and delays in product development; the ability to achieve key technical milestones in key products; dependence on third parties to develop, manufacture, sell and market our products; potential product liability claims, risks related to Lumera's business and the market for its equity and other risk factors identified from time to time in the company's SEC reports and other filings, including the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC. Except as expressly required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in circumstances or any other reason.

heya

Hi guys,
I'm still here -- just been travelling a lot (wait for pictures) and super busy working on stuff I can't talk about yet and hence unable to post. Sorry to miss getting the blog updated -- I hope to be able to describe some of the cool stuff we're working on soon. It's just kind of the nature of a lot of the work that we're doing, that we're limited in what we can communicate. So, please don't mistake lack of blog updates with a lack of activity. The stuff I'm doing should see the light of day before too long.

In the meantime, pls check out the 'MVIS Wiki Blog' by Sven, it's updated a lot and pretty informative.
Thanks for sticking with me,
Ben

Uneducated Investor: MVIS Q3 2008 Conference Call

Thanks to TIGRE for transcribing our recent conference call!

Microvision To Show PicoP Format

By Greg Tarr -- TWICE,11/03/2008

REDMOND, WASH. — Microvision will be exhibiting at the 2009 International CES to give attendees a glance at its new ultra-miniature scanned-beam display engine technology that is intended to give mobile devices projection display capability, including standalone Pico projectors planned for market in 2009.

Eventually, the company plans to supply the engines to manufacturers of mobile devices, such as cellphones, to give everyone from business professionals to photo-happy teenagers the ability to present instant big-screen videos and slideshows on the go.

For now, the company is deciding how to best go to market with a standalone battery-operated Pico projector as an "accessory device" to iPods, digital cameras, camcorders etc.

By CES, Microvision said it expects to either be ready to announce plans to market the product under its own Microvision brand or to offer the technology through a marketing partner, said Matt Nichols, Microvision communications director.

After that, the company expects the technology to start being integrated into other devices. Since July 2007, the company has been operating under a non-exclusive joint development agreement with Motorola, Nichols said, as "one of our first partners in the handset space. Ultimately, they will define the timing of when that goes to market."

Unlike other miniature Pico projectors based on DLP or LCoS light-engines, Microvision's technology, called "PicoP," uses a display chip comprised of a single mirror (instead of millions of mirrors like a DLP chip) that is driven both horizontally and vertically on one axis, Nichols explained.

Lighting for the system comes from three miniature lasers (red, green and blue) that are said to produce both a brighter image and more color intensity than the LEDs used in competitive units. Microvision has developed a control system to combine the three lasers to produce natural colors and constantly sharp focus.

Microvision's first product will produce 10 lumens of brightness compared with 5 lumens produced by other competitive approaches, Nichols said.

Currently in its second generation, the display engine offers WVGA (848 by 480 lines) resolution.

Initially, Microvision said the standalone projectors will come to market at about $400, but economies of scale will enable the price for subsequent generations of the technology "to come down pretty quickly," he said. For integration into other products, like cellphones, the technology will have to be below $100 for the component, according to Nichols.

By around 2011, he said the company expects to have applications developed especially for use in automobiles.

Inside the "World's Smallest" Projector - Gearlog



OK, Microvision's SHOW pico projector may not necessarily be the world's smallest projector. There are tiny competitors from 3M, Toshiba, and Explay, using technologies as varied as DLP, LCOS and, as in the SHOW, lasers. Yet none are as thin as the SHOW. In fact, most of these competitors appear no thinner than an inch (at least from images we've found on the Web, since none of these companies have yet shown us these products in person). The latest Microvision SHOW projector is just 14 mm thick and is primed to get even thinner.

I last saw this iPod-size marvel at CES 2008. Back then, company reps were all but certain that commercial Microvision mobile projectors would be out before the end of this year. Now, however, the company tells us that we won't see these devices on the market until spring of next year.

The good news is that in the intervening months, Microvision has refined its technology, making the custom ASIC chip even smaller and rewriting algorithms to better control the 60-Hz refresh rate (getting rid of an up-to 4-Hz variance), remove some of the banding and shimmer I saw in the first prototype, and add a new, extended color mode that makes the image more vibrant and appear brighter.

When I met with Microvision late last year and at CES in January, I got a high-level primer on how the SHOW produces infinite-focus color images up to 3 meters wide--and on almost any surface-- without a lens. However, on recent visit, company executives went deeper, showing me the chip that drives the image and explaining, in some detail, how this tiny projector works.

At the heart of the SHOW is a tiny ASIC (or Application Specific Integrated Circuit). [Editor's Note: The following describes the Integrated Photonics Module (IPM), which is the optomechanical component of the PicoP -- the IPM is controlled by ASIC chips but is not itself an ASIC.] This 7-mm-thick, 5cc chip is a silicon MEMS (micro electro-mechanical system). At the center of the chip is a tiny mirror. The three color (RGB) lasers hit the mirror, which uses magnets, coils, and harmonics to oscillate from side to side and up and down. In this way it draws a 60-Hz raster pattern or image that is roughly 480p (WVGA 848 by 480 pixels). (See photos below).

Microvision execs told me that the technology offers their company some benefits over competitors. One of the biggest might be the unbelievably short "throw"--this is the amount of distance the projector needs from the screen to display a reasonably sized picture. A Microvision projector held a foot away from the projection surface will display a 1-foot-diagonal image. When I projected it onto my office ceiling from a distance of about 8 feet, I got a roughly 8-foot diagonal image. According to Microvision, competing mini-projectors have about half the throw ability. At virtually any distance, the SHOW image remains in focus.

Even though Microvision has been promising projector-equipped mobile phones since last year (and has managed to build a functioning prototype), the first Microvision products will be two standalone projectors, One will work with mobile media devices such as iPods, and the other will be a mobile media device that can play photos and videos on its own. The products will be officially unveiled at CES 2009 in Las Vegas and could retail for around $400.

Microvision partner Motorola reportedly is still working on an in-phone projector based on Microvision's technology; and Microvision is still working on making the projector even smaller. In fact, execs said that future SHOW devices could support higher resolutions without getting any bigger.


Here's a close-up of the tiny, 5CCs MEMS.


The Microvision MEMS with the magnets split open.


A side view of the Microvision MEMS.


The prototype case for the Microvision SHOW sits under an iPod.

Microdisplays: Coming Soon to an Eye Near You?

Feature Articles | September 2008
Microdisplays: Coming Soon to an Eye Near You?

Texting, global positioning and streaming video on your portable device’s tiny screen could soon seem very old school compared with having that information projected directly onto your eye.

by Melinda Rose, Web Editor, photonics.com

Imagine strolling past a restaurant and having its menu hover translucently in your field of vision, or getting a call from friends and having a GPS-like map appear in front of you as a guide to their exact location. These types of “augmented reality” scenarios could be closer than you might think, because the basic technology is already being developed for handheld devices, and specialized optics needed to guide the images to your eye is in the works right now at Microvision Inc. of Redmond, Wash.


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Figure 1. Microvision is working to incorporate its PicoP display engine into eyewear that would project directly onto the eye the GPS and other images that normally are viewed on tiny mobile device screens. Model ©2007 Patrick Bennett, composition ©2008 Microvision.

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The company’s pico projector display engine, called the PicoP, comprises a microelectromechanical systems scanner; red, green and blue laser light sources; optics to guide the laser beams; and drive electronics to process data signals and to synchronize the color mix and placement of individual pixels.

The tiny scanning mirror is about the size of the head of a pin, with the entire device being “about the size of an Andes thin-mint chocolate,” said Ben Averch, product manager of eyewear display. “Our focus as a business is to take this engine and embed it into iPod-size devices or as a projector into a cell phone.”

The single scanning mirror is designed to scan both horizontally and vertically so that a single beam of light can be precisely steered side to side and up and down at very high speeds – 30 million pixels a second – to project a complete video image. Because the brain can’t follow something moving that fast, the projected video being rendered line by line appears to move as smoothly as video on a traditional screen, Averch said.

Rather than the LEDs favored by some of its competitors, the company uses lasers as its light source because they provide a brighter image, Averch said. Brightness is important if the projected image is to be seen on a sunny day.

Microvision and other companies developing mobile projectors, such as 3M and Texas Instruments, are counting on consumers to be tired of watching videos, especially full-length movies, on tiny cell phone or iPod screens and to appreciate the ability to project – and share with friends – large still or video images from such portable media players onto a wall, a ceiling, a school locker or even an item of clothing.

The company has been exhibiting its PicoP handheld accessory device, dubbed the SHOW, at display conferences such as the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show and this month’s Society for Information Display (SID) mobile displays conference in San Diego. The palm-size, battery-operated SHOW connects to mobile devices via video-out ports, where it can be used to project vivid, full-color, high-resolution images that can range in size from 12 to 100 in. The projected image has an infinite focus, so “whether it’s 12 inches or 6 feet away, it self-focuses,” Averch said. The SHOW is designed to have at least two hours of play time per charge, and Microvision expects it to enter the marketplace by the end of the third or in the fourth quarter, said Matt Nichols, director of communications.

The company is currently working with partners such as Motorola to embed the PicoP into handheld devices such as cell phones; volume production of such embedded devices is expected in 2009, Nichols said. [Editor's Note: Please see this PR for the official word on timelines, etc.]

The wearable pico projector

In addition to creating the handheld SHOW projector and embedding the PicoP into other devices, the company is also working to create eyewear that incorporates the technology. Instead of being projected onto a surface, the image would be projected onto the wearer’s eye.

The eyewear would connect either via wire or wirelessly to the user’s mobile device for social networking, entertainment and other applications. Text of a keynote address could be streamed in real time to a public speaker, for example – like having a personal, invisible teleprompter. Or blueprints could appear for firefighters trying to search a burning building.

The main challenge to adapting the projector for eyewear is the specialized optics required to trap the laser beam and direct it to the wearer’s eye, Averch said. The beam travels inside the optical material, which steers it directly onto the eye, creating the illusion that the image the wearer is seeing is hovering in space in front of him and that it is visible only to himself.

The PicoP optics was redesigned over the past year to create the much larger field of view required in a wearable device. Averch said that one of the design challenges was making sure that each viewing angle is delivered with uniform brightness.

Microvision introduced its wide-angle PicoP at the SID conference in 2007, where it presented a tabletop version of the technology that proved its optical feasibility. The company has been working since to create a handheld device featuring the technology and to incorporate the projector into a wearable prototype, such as a helmet-mounted display, under two contracts from the US Air Force.


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Figure 2. Shown is a prototype of the palm-size, battery-powered SHOW projector, which connects to devices such as iPods to project bright, full-color, always-in-focus, high-resolution images that can range in size from 12 to 100 in. Image courtesy of Microvision.

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The Air Force requires a high-brightness, lightweight, wearable device with a large field of view for use by advance forces, or scouts, who often spend a long time in hostile conditions carrying a lot of heavy gear. The Air Force is looking to replace with the wearable PicoP some of the items troops carry that contain display screens.

Concept demonstrators will be sent to the military by the end of the year. The design of the optics must be simplified before it can be manufactured at high volumes or head into the retail market, Averch said.

While the military is concerned primarily with the device’s performance, the consumer marketplace demands something else entirely.

For mobile device eyewear marketed to the public, “We’re primarily concerned with fashion and ergonomics,” Averch said. “People aren’t going to wear these things unless they look cool and are comfortable.” He envisions partnerships with style trendsetters such as Dolce & Gabbana to make the eyewear itself attractive and fashionable.

Because the PicoP engine is only 7 mm thick and weighs only a few grams, “We don’t expect it to be dramatically heavier than a regular pair of frames.”

The eyewear’s power consumption also will be very efficient, he said, because “We only need to draw the image where it needs to augment your view.” Lasers that turn on to draw “Incoming call from Gramma,” for example, won’t take up the same viewing space or use the same amount of power as when drawing moving video.

With Bluetooth technology and speech-to-text functions, it could be possible someday to both receive and send text messages without even touching your phone.

“Over 2 trillion text messages were sent last year. We’re positioning the eyewear as a new way to deliver text messages so you don’t have to pull your phone out to interact,” Averch said.

Asia Optical to Deploy Microvision's PicoP Display Technology

By Arvind Arora
TMCnet Contributing Editor

Microvision (News - Alert), Inc., a company that provides ultra-miniature projection display and image capture products, reportedly has announced an agreement with Asia Optical Co., Inc., a manufacturer of electro-optical components.

Under the agreement, Asia Optical will deploy Microvision’s proprietary PicoP technology to manufacture PicoP display engines and Microvision’s first stand-alone accessory Pico projector products.

The first units manufactured under the agreement are expected to be completed later this year, and the design for manufacturing collaboration between the two companies for high-volume production has already begun.

Microvision’s ultra-miniature, low-power PicoP display engine produces bright, large-size, high-resolution, color-rich images that are always in focus. Potential applications for the display engine include embedded or accessory projectors for mobile phones, personal media players, laptops and hand-held gaming devices. Various original equipment manufacturers and distributors have shown strong interest in the technology.

The PicoP display technology by Microvision is a platform designed to enable next-generation display and imaging products for Pico projectors, vehicle displays, and wearable displays that interface with mobile devices. Featuring its proprietary MEMS technology, the company also manufactures and sells its bar code scanner product line.

Alexander Tokman, president and chief executive officer of Microvision, said that the company’s PicoP go-to-market strategy leverages strategic supply chain partnerships, and that Microvision is excited to formally announce its partnership with Asia Optical.

Tokman said that this agreement represents a milestone in company’s PicoP commercialization plan, as Asia Optical’s production capabilities are outstanding and they are one of the world’s largest high-volume and vertically integrated manufacturers of digital cameras, DVD engines and electronics assemblies etc.

Robert Lai, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Asia Optical, said that Microvision has an outstanding display technology that will revolutionize the mobile handset marketplace.

Lai said that Asia Optical believes Microvision’s PicoP display will provide the consumers with new and exciting mobile projection display functionality that can not be achieved through traditional display technologies.

I'm in the airport waiting for the inflatable slide to be replaced on my plane to Chicago -- watching the failure of the bailout bill and thinking of the old saying, 'may you live in interesting times'. Bad mortgage lending practices have created a real monster, but personally I was not eager to see the feds hand the keys to the US treasury over ... (you may disagree!).

These things will work themselves out over however long it takes -- seeing Wamu go down, AIG and the rest is shocking, but the one thing that I do know is that there's a difference between markets, which exist as 'the madness of crowds', (see tulip mania and all the rest) and technology, that really does grow exponentially, and rushes ever onward because it truly is a force of nature.

It seems that something is worth what you can get someone to pay you for it, but change and progress are fundamental and ongoing.

Tell the biotech scientist to stop decoding genomes because there's bad mortgage debt -- it doesn't compute. And at MVIS, we'll keep innovating and driving our platform forward because that's what we're here to do -- change the way people visualize information.

So, in the face of dire warnings of great depressions and everything else, you just have to stick to your knitting. Science and technology are part of the fabric of life, just like banks -- but there is comfort (for me anyway) to know that the wheel doesn't stop, and in reality the ever-more intimate connection of people and technology can't stop.

Should be interesting to be at WiMAX World and AUSA over the next few days -- all these guys are going to show off awesome technology, and it'll be clear as day that in the long run, we are going to see incredible technologically driven change in our lifetimes.

'May you live in interesting times', indeed!

Best wishes,
Ben

Microvision Demonstrates Enhancements to Pico Projector Prototype at CEATEC Japan 2008 - MarketWatch

Company's Pocket-Sized Laser Projector to Bring 'Big-Screen Viewing' to Mobile Devices

Last update: 7:00 p.m. EDT Sept. 28, 2008

REDMOND, Wash., Sep 28, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- With the global mobile TV market expected to more than double from $7.9 billion in 2008 to $17.1 billion in 2012, according to the Yankee Group, a worldwide audience is already viewing YouTube videos, films and other content on the small screens of mobile devices in record numbers. Microvision (MVIS:Microvision Inc, a global leader in innovative ultra-miniature projection display and image capture products for mobility applications, is bringing new technology to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) which would alleviate the small-screen viewing problem which many users dislike. Today the company announced plans to demonstrate its next-generation pico projector prototype--a pocket-sized laser projector that connects to mobile phones, personal media players and other mobile devices--at CEATEC in Tokyo, Japan (September 30-October 4, 2008, booth 8G06).

"Our latest pico projector prototype provides a thinner, smaller and brighter PicoP(TM) engine and several image quality enhancements over the projector which we introduced at CES earlier this year," said Alexander Tokman, president and CEO of Microvision. "Through the integration of new-generation green lasers and electronics innovations we are able to deliver the type of image quality that we believe will delight customers. We recently began shipments of this prototype to our OEM customers for evaluation and end-user testing. We consider both the new prototype and our work with OEMs as important steps forward in the path toward commercialization."

About PicoP: Core Technology of Microvision's Projector

Microvision's PicoP display engine, the fundamental technology on which the company's laser projector prototype is based, is comprised of directly modulated light sources, custom-drive electronics and software, optical combiners and Microvision's MEMS single scanning mirror. The tiny scanning mirror itself is less than one square millimeter in area--or about the size of the head of a pin. The single scanning mirror 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.
The inherent advantages of this architecture include small form factor and low power requirements, while delivering very good image quality. PicoP uses a collimated beam of light to achieve very efficient full-color, hi-resolution, high-contrast images. Additionally, PicoP does not require any projection lenses and is therefore 'focus-free' at any distance--another major advantage inherent in the PicoP architecture.

CEATEC JAPAN is the Cutting-edge IT & Electronics Comprehensive Exhibition
Since its inaugural event in 2000, CEATEC JAPAN (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) has brought together under one roof the latest in technologies, products and services that form the foundation of today's digital society. The show has grown through the years as a source of industry information for the global audience. CEATEC JAPAN 2007 posted record results with 895 exhibitors and 205,859 visitors. For more information, please visit: www.ceatec.com.

About Microvision ( www.microvision.com)
Microvision provides the PicoP display technology platform designed to enable next-generation display and imaging products for pico projectors, vehicles displays, and wearable displays that interface to mobile devices. The company also manufactures and sells its bar code scanner product line which features the company's proprietary MEMS technology.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer
Certain statements contained in this release, including those relating to future demonstrations, product introductions and applications, as well as statements containing words like "would," "believe," and other similar expressions, are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the Company's forward-looking statements include the following: availability and quantities of key components, our ability to raise additional capital when needed; the risk of market acceptance of our technology and products, our financial and technical resources relative to those of our competitors; our ability to keep up with rapid technological change; our ability to enforce our intellectual property rights and protect our proprietary technologies; the timing of commercial product launches and delays in product development; the ability to achieve key technical milestones in key products; our ability to secure needed third party manufacturing and sales resources, dependence on third parties to develop, manufacture, sell and market our products; potential product liability claims and other risk factors identified from time to time in the Company's SEC reports, including the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC. Except as expressly required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in circumstances or any other reason.

Microvision Commences Shipments of Accessory Pico Projectors for Customer Evaluation

Thursday September 18, 9:00 am ET

REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Microvision (NASDAQ:MVIS - News), the leader in light scanning technologies for display and imaging products, today announced that is has begun shipments of enhanced accessory projectors, enabled by its PicoP™ display engine, to world leading consumer electronics original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and telecommunications carriers for evaluation purposes, including end-user testing. The timing of these shipments is consistent with the guidance the company gave during its second quarter conference call and represents a significant milestone in the commercialization process.

Microvision President and CEO Alexander Tokman commented, “We are pleased to be providing the next generation prototypes in increased quantities to our partners to commence their evaluation and end-user testing. These units incorporate several important innovations and advancements including: new generation green lasers, an even thinner, smaller and brighter PicoP engine and several image quality enhancements. We are looking forward to receiving valuable feedback as we continue to move forward with our commercialization plans.”

The company expects OEM partners to use the enhanced units to conduct evaluations over the next several months to obtain broader user feedback in order to finalize the accessory pico projector product design. These enhanced units contain next generation green lasers that are built on the same platform expected to be used for commercial production in 2009, and a smaller PicoP display engine that is thinner and brighter than one used in the SHOW™ prototypes introduced in the first half of 2008.

Following these external evaluations, Microvision intends to incorporate user feedback into the final configurations of its PicoP accessory projector. Final configuration product prototypes powered by fully integrated ASIC electronics, which will be substantially smaller, thinner and require less power, would then be provided to global customers for expanded end-user studies and product reliability and acceptance testing. This phase is expected to begin in late fourth quarter 2008 and continue into the first quarter of 2009.

The company expects to receive customer orders following successful completion of product acceptance testing during the first quarter of 2009. Microvision plans to be in the position to begin shipments of the commercial accessory product to customers in the first half of 2009. The precise timing of a product introduction will be dependent on customer feedback and product launch windows as well as key component availability.

About PicoP

Microvision’s pico projector prototype is powered by its proprietary PicoP display engine and connects directly to laptops, mobile phones, portable media players, digital cameras and other mobile devices to project large WVGA (848 X 480 pixels), high-resolution images and video onto any surface. The projected display is always in focus and can range anywhere from 8 inches (20 cm) to 100 inches (2.5 m) in size depending upon the ambient lighting conditions. Whether projecting TV, digital photos, movies, presentation slides or content from internet browsing to social networking, PicoP enabled devices deliver outstanding viewing experiences to consumers.

About Microvision (www.microvision.com)

Microvision provides the PicoP display technology platform designed to enable next generation display and imaging products for pico projectors, vehicle displays, and wearable displays that interface to mobile devices. The company also manufactures and sells its bar code scanner product line which features the company’s proprietary MEMS technology.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer

Certain statements contained in this release, including those relating to commercial production, timing of customer studies, timing and receipt of customer orders, future products and words such as “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” and “would,” are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the Company’s forward-looking statements include the following: availability and quantities of key components, our ability to raise additional capital when needed; our financial and technical resources relative to those of our competitors; our ability to keep up with rapid technological change; government regulation of our technologies; our ability to enforce our intellectual property rights and protect our proprietary technologies; the ability to obtain additional contract awards; the timing of commercial product launches and delays in product development; the ability to achieve key technical milestones in key products; dependence on third parties to develop, manufacture, sell and market our products; potential product liability claims and other risk factors identified from time to time in the Company’s SEC reports, including the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC. Except as expressly required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in circumstances or any other reason.



Gizmodo: News Flash: Moto R&D Working On Prototypes Other Than RAZR 3!

In a panel at GigaOm's Mobilize conference today, Motorola VP of Applied Technology Fred Kitson revealed some prototype display technologies they have in the works, confirming the company has more on the mind than the damn RAZR. One phone prototype Kitson described involves an embedded projector that made use of 3 lasers that project on a wall, while another makes use of a headset display. He also made mention of home displays that could automatically detect your phone as you move into a target range, and dedicate a portion of that screen to your cellphone.

Kitson expounded upon the Laser projector, saying that it could be used for collaborative teleconferencing, and "social TV," where someone can insert themselves in a friend's video feed. Other prototypes include foldable, multi-part displays, as well as lego-style modular displays that are scalable in size and shape. E-paper was another technology Kitson admitted to working with, which seems odd for a cellphone in my opinion. Asked about when we might see some of this technology, all Kitson would say is that it's working in the lab now, and some of these will hopefully surface in the future. But hey, I'm just glad the StarTac 2 isn't their "next big thing" in the lab.



4G Executive Summit 2008

Hey everyone,

I'm excited to have the opportunity to be a panelist at the 4G Executive Summit in Chicago, which is part of WiMAX World 2008. I'll be participating in a discussion on the future of location-based services, a subject near and dear to my heart, along with Walt Doyle, CEO of uLocate, and Rick Robinson, VP Products and Service, Sprint Nextel’s XOHM business unit. Hope to see some of you there!

Also, Matt Nichols, our director of communications, left the new issue (Sep 2008) of Photonics Spectra magazine on my desk. Spectra is the industry magazine for people in the light source & optics business -- there's a feature article on Microvision eyewear and an interview with yours truly. Hopefully a web version of the article will surface soon, which I'll be sure to share with you in this space.

Emerging trends and the Internet economy

The third Internet revolution will be catalysed around the capabilities of the present world web, in particular location and other context information, said Gartner analyst Mark Raskino yesterday, Tuesday, 20 August 2008, at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo being held at Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Raskino said that compared with earlier web generations, it will include some new characteristics:

Connection to the physical world, including augmented reality and access to and control of remote devices that effect change in the physical world.

Context as a driver of our IT experience, dependent on coherent and persistent online identities as well as immediate inferred needs.

Instant, ongoing access to people and information that matter to us, possibly fostering unhealthy dependence and a "borg" mentality in some.

User interface

Although little has changed in the dominant user interface paradigm - the graphical user interface (GUI) - for nearly 20 years, a number of technology advances will start to change the interface landscape by 2010.

Large-screen displays are dropping in price and new touch and gesture input interfaces (eg the Apple iPhone and the Nintendo Wii) are creating new approaches to interaction. Mobile phones and music players will incorporate contextual knowledge about owner, profiles, location and so on. Starting around 2010, devices will integrate information from many sources to deliver an integrated and sociable user experience.

After 2015, the so-called desktop will flow off the desk and into office appliances and the walls around the user. In this world of ambient intelligence, any non-trivial device will contain some degree of embedded processing and communications capability. In this new environment, the focus shifts from interfaces on individual devices to an "environmental user interface," which acts as a contextual user access and information delivery engine across multiple interconnected devices.

Social dimension

In his presentation, Raskino said that the second wave of the Internet is characterised by a social dimension.

“The focus is not on abstracted and structured business processes and transactions, but this time is on people, discourse and unstructured information. In maturity, the Internet has become broadband- always on - and connect nodes with considerable processing power.”

“Additionally, the users have matured with it to become a more comfortable, demanding activist. What we have today is a two-way street for information- no longer ‘business to consumer' (B2C) but C2B and C2C as well. This brings new opportunities and challenges in customer interactions, but also internally in the way we organise work,” added Raskino.

Open the Future: Making the Visible Invisible | Beyond the Beyond from Wired.com



By Bruce Sterling August 13, 2008 | 9:51:26 AM

The "maker society" argument that has so swept up many in the free/open source world is a positive manifestation of the notion that you don't have to be limited to what the manufacturer says are the uses of a given product. A philosophy that "you only own something if you can open it up" pervades this world. There's certainly much that appeals about this philosophy, and it's clear that hackability can serve as a catalyst for innovation. You're probably a bit more familiar with a basic example of the negative manifestation: spam and malware. (...)

The Internet, email, the web, and the various digital delights we've brought into our lives were not designed with advertising or viruses in mind. It turned out, however, that the digital infrastructure was a lush environment for such developments.

Moreover, the most effective steps we could take to put a lid on spam and malware would also undermine the freedom and innovative potential of the Internet. The more top-down control there is in the digital world, the less of a chance spam and malware have to proliferate, but the less of a chance there is to do disruptive, creative things with the technology. The Apple iPhone application store offers a clear example of this: the vetting and remote-disable process Apple uses may make harmful applications less likely to appear, but also eliminates the availability of applications that do things outside of what the iPhone designers intended. (Fortunately, the iPhone isn't the only interesting digital tool around.)

It seems likely to me that an augmented reality world that really takes off will out of necessity be one that offers freedom of use closer to that of the Internet than of the iPhone. Top-down control technologies will certainly make a play for the space, but simply won't be the kind of global catalyst for innovation that an open augmented reality web would be. An AR world dominated by closed, controlled systems will be safe, but have a limited impact.

This means, therefore, that we should expect to see spam and malware finding its way into the AR world soon after it emerges. Of the two, malware is more of a danger, but also more likely to be controllable by good system design (just as modern operating systems are more resistant to malware than the OSes of a decade ago). Spam, conversely, is unlikely to be stopped at its source; instead, we'll probably use the same reasonably-functional solution we use now: Filtering. Recipient-side filtering has become quite good, and users with well-trained spam filters see just a tiny fraction of their incoming junk email. Spam is by no means a solved problem, but it's become something akin to a chronic, controllable disease....



Earthmine: Imagery for a 3D Geoweb

The geoweb is going 3D. Google is bringing Google Earth into the browser via a plug-in. Photosynth, 3D photo collection creator and viewer, is moving into the Microsoft's Virtual Earth team (this was posted about on July 26th; the post was removed, but is still findable in the cache's of both Google and Live). Google's Panoramio, a location-oriented photo-sharing site, has released their own 3D-ish photo viewer (see the Sydney Opera House and launch coverage on Google Earth Blog). And the geo teams of both Google and Microsoft have their own 3D modelers, Sketchup and trueSpace (more info) respectively.

However the imagery that you see in VE or Google is not 3D. That is where Earthmine, a Berkeley-based startup is hoping to come in (Radar post). They are currently mapping four cities with NASA technology and a custom-designed camera rig. Each pixel in an image is assigned 3D coordinate. Capturing this data allows for a multitude of future applications.

Their current, private environment is dogfooding their own API. In it you can see some of the promise of 3D mapping (and some beautiful imagery). They enable you to to tag a location or add a virtual object. You can also select points and measure the real-world distance between them (as shown in the screenshot).

There will be two versions of the API. A FlashVIewer API is available for public sites and can programmed with Javascript and ActionScript. It includes coordinate search and the ability to merge existing data sets. The Direct Data API will be a low-level REST API and will provide direct access to images (by lat-long coordinates) and 3D lookups. It can also support 3D models (hopefully the ones you've created in the free Sketchup and trueSpace programs).

Earthmine's four-city Beta is going to be launching in the Fall. They are currently looking for launch partners. Personally, I am hoping that at least one iPhone app is made with their data. If you have an Augmented Reality app for the iPhone in you (or any other app that could use rich 3D data) contact them via their Beta Signup page.

Oblivious texters hurt as they walk, even skate - Behavior- msnbc.com



Texters hurt as they walk, ride — even cook
ER docs warn of serious injuries, deaths from text-message mishaps

by JoNel Aleccia

Apparently, the warning applies to everyone, from college student Danielle Gonzales to Barack Obama’s adviser, Valerie Jarrett: Don’t walk and text at the same time.

Gonzales, a 19-year-old sophomore at San Diego State University, admits she’s stumbled more than once while sending texts on the street.

“I’ve definitely tripped over things sometimes like the little cracks in the ground,” she said. “I have to remember to look up.”

And Jarrett confesses she fell off a Chicago curb several weeks ago while her thumbs were flying on her Blackberry.

"I didn't see the sidewalk and I twisted my ankle," Jarrett said. "It was a nice wake-up call for me to be a lot more careful in the future, because I clearly wasn't paying attention and I should have."

Both got off easy and didn't need medical attention.

But in an alert issued this week, the American College of Emergency Physicians warns of the danger of more serious accidents involving oblivious texters. The ER doctors cite rising reports from doctors around the country of injuries involving text-messaging pedestrians, bicyclists, even Rollerbladers and equestrians.

One ER doctor in Texas says she’s treated people injured as they texted while riding Segways, the two-wheeled transporters popular in some tourist locations.

“They’ll be holding onto the Segway with one hand and their cell phone with the other,” said Dr. Angela Gardner, an assistant professor in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

She said she usually has to hear about the cause of the injuries from snickering ambulance crews, not the patients themselves.

“People don’t want to admit they were doing something so silly,” Gardner said.

Two deaths tied to texting accidents
Most injuries involve scrapes, cuts and sprains from texters who walked into lampposts or walls or tripped over curbs.

Still, ER doctors who responded to a recent informal query from the organization reported two deaths, both in California. A San Francisco woman was killed by a pickup truck earlier this year when she stepped off a curb while texting, and a Bakersfield man was killed last year by a car while crossing the street and texting.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has no national estimate on how common texting-related injuries are. But since 2005, the agency has received at least seven reports of serious texting mishaps, including a 15-year-old girl who fell off her horse while texting, suffering head and back injuries, and a 13-year-old girl who suffered belly, leg and arm burns after texting her boyfriend while cooking noodles.

Other reports include a 39-year-old man who suffered a head injury after crashing his bicycle into a tree while texting and a 16-year-old boy who suffered a concussion because he was texting while walking and banged into a telephone pole.

Distractions as brief as 2 seconds can cause accidents or near misses while driving a car, according to a 2006 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Dr. Mary Pat McKay, an ER doctor at Prince George Hospital in Cheverly, Md., who has worked with the NHTSA, said similar lapses may be responsible for text-message mishaps during other activities as well.

363 billion wireless messages sent a year
That’s worrisome in a country where 363 billion text messages were sent last year, according to CTIA, a wireless association, and when so many people are engaged in text-dependent multitasking. McKay says she’s been shocked to observe several cyclists riding hands-free, texting as they go.

“I’ve seen it at least three times and I only drive four miles to work,” she said. “The final bottom line is if you’re distracted from the task at hand, your risk rises.”

Dr. James Adams, chairman of emergency medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said he has treated minor injuries in several texters.

"Common sense isn't always common," Adams said.

Sometimes even among doctors.

"I have to admit that I started a text while I was driving and then I said, `This is so stupid,' so I stopped," Adams said.

It’s the lure of instant connection that’s driving the need to text during every activity, said Janet Armentor-Cota, an assistant professor of sociology at California State University at Bakersfield, who studies the sociology of technology.

“There’s a culture being fostered here about always being in contact, always being accessible,” she said. “There’s never a moment where you have to miss out.”

Trouble is, some texters forget that physical world has consequences that the virtual world does not, she added.

“In the real world, there’s the danger of falling off the horse,” she said.



Augmented Reality: Beyond RFID and QR Codes For Mobile

By Melissa Aiken and Jason Collins, Alcatel-Lucent
RFID World
(06/24/08, 02:18:00 AM EDT)
Think of text, photos and videos on the Internet as a collection of content sitting on various interconnected servers. Consumers can access the content through machines designed in the 1970s and 1980s, during a time when the world relied on relatively large computing platforms comprised of keyboard, mouse and computer monitor. Since then, we have seen many advances in interactivity, the rich display and complexity of the content such as adding video and Web 2.0 functions. People, however, still get that content primarily through a URL/Web address.

A new revolution on the horizon makes the mobile platform a large, if not predominant, mechanism for accessing Internet content. We've seen how compelling the mobile interface is for voice as the percentage of calls on mobile phones increase, and percentage on wireline phones decrease. Mobile Internet access is poised to follow this trend, but truly, how many of us actually go to the Web address printed in an advertisement on a billboard or on a box of Cheerios, Corn Flakes or Special K?

A few key issues exist such as the display isn't a big monitor and a nice big keyboard to type in a Web address doesn't exist. Displays are improving, as the Apple iPhone demonstrates. The mobile device has become nearly all screen. However, as good as keyboards are on mobile devices, huge opportunities exist to rethink how end-users discover and retrieve content. Mobility provides the answer: use the user's environment to key into content. For example, my phone can trigger content from a product image on a billboard advertisement.

One well understood method is covered in this publication regularly"radio frequency identification technology. Of course this requires companies to implement RFID readers in consumer-grade mobile devices and RFID tags placed into the environment. An alternative is to retrieve content through a trigger in existing cameras on phones. Simple examples of this called QR Codes are becoming very popular in some locations around the globe such as Japan. QR Codes are simple bar codes. If you have the right phone and are motivated you can try this by downloading a client for your phone from a site like Kaywa. Coding a web address into a bar code is easy through various tools including the Kaywa QR-Code generator as well. This is only the first step for where technology is going.

A significant advancement in technology provides instant interactivity with network content. It is called mobile augmented reality. This technology combines real-world data with computer-generated data to "augment" the real-world experience for consumers. Examples of the non-mobile version abound in controlled environments for television such as the yellow lines placed on football fields or the replacement of advertisements around the field at soccer games.

Mobile augmented reality takes the same base technology and moves it out of the controlled environments and off of our television sets. With augmented reality, a Web address isn't encoded in a bar code. Instead, the picture is interpreted and information superimposed on a physical object in real time.

Imagine for example being able to look at a picture through the video camera on your phone and see not a static image but a full motion video where that picture "comes to life." The picture below shows what you might see if you were to look at an advertisement through your phone.

The effect is somewhat like the pictures in "Harry Potter," where the pictures aren't static, they move. This augmentation of reality with a moving picture can be used in magazine ads or on billboards, for instance.

A magazine advertisement is one way basic augmented reality technology can be used. Others include superimposing directions from online mapping software in real-time to provide directions or information on city landmarks/exhibits in a museum for tourists.

Georgia Tech and Alcatel-Lucent recently demonstrated mobile augmented reality by providing an interface into a virtual environment. Imagine setting up a conference meeting and having the attendees appear in 3D on a table in your home office. By using augmented reality a user could see this virtual conference superimposed on the real table.

To fully experience Internet content the end user will move to and from augmented reality to a more traditional Web experience, but the discovery and hook into the content initially comes from the environment, meaning the keyboard is much less of an issue and the discovery is more natural.

The architecture for mobile augmented reality must allow for content change, just like the Web does today. You may go to a Web site and see one thing on one day and then go back to the same site to see different content on the next. The architecture for mobile augmented reality must therefore rely on services provided by the network interpreting patterns and delivering content in real-time.

The idea behind the service is to essentially setup a video conference from the end-user to a server in the network. The server in the network can do all the "heavy lifting" required by augmented reality of pattern recognition, pattern tracking, and superimposition of content. The example architecture below shows how the IP Multi-Media Subsystem (IMS) standard can be used to implement a mobile augmented reality service. In this case, the IMS standard is used to setup a video stream (reality) from an end-user to an IMS application server. The IMS application server interprets patterns and orientations of those patterns in the video and matches them against known patterns.

Artificial content appropriate for the known pattern is then folded into the video stream (now the stream is "augmented reality"). The IMS application server then sends the augmented video stream back to the end user. In addition to this basic functionality, the IMS application allows for various types of interactivity between the content and the end user.

Mobile augmented reality, while possible on current networks and services, will improve with better cameras on mobile devices and the launching of higher bandwidth 4G mobile services such as WiMAX or LTE. This is, in part, why the expectation is to see 2D bar codes evolving into the full mobile augmented reality user interface, but this technology is compelling enough that it is extremely likely to be the main way of access content in the future.

The mobile phone has become one of the most personal devices people own. It is something they always have with them, twenty four hours a day, seven days per week. There are many choices of mobile devices available, allowing people to choose the device that meets their needs. Today, these devices have so much more computing power, more memory, and greater flexibility, and the network is increasing its bandwidth and availability.

The continuous improvements have brought new technology such as mobile-to-mobile video calls within reach of the every day user. Augmented reality, using your mobile phone, is not too far behind. Recent Alcatel-Lucent research finds consumers believe the augmented services have broad appeal, easy to use, and a service they would use frequently.

Augmented reality offers a new way to easily access Web content, replacing the need to type in URLs. Using object recognition and putting the computational heavy lifting on the network, AR opens the door to an easy to use, application that has broad appeal for everyday use. Once this technology becomes mainstream, look for "AR enabled" media and products to be commonplace.

About the Authors:

Jason Collins is the senior director of strategic solutions in Alcatel-Lucent's Chief Technology Office. Collins has more than 15 years of experience in the telecommunications industry in technical research and development and marketing. Today, he leads an organization that identifies and builds strategic communications solutions at Alcatel-Lucent, including entertainment and augmented reality.

Collins has worked in academia and for service providers and equipment vendors. He began his career in R&D at Georgia Tech researching broadband communications systems, the physical and MAC layers. He held various positions for several service providers such as AT&T.

Collins holds a patent for digital video delivery over DSL and has patents pending for automated configuration of IP networks and automated diagnostics of IP network problems.

Melissa Aiken is the director of marketing for Alcatel-Lucent's Americas Region, Chief Marketing Office. She has more than 15 years of experience in the telecommunications and computing industry in sales and marketing. Today, Aiken works in the Market Advantage Program (MAP), an exclusive resource for ALU Customers designed to help them better understand market opportunities, gain competitive advantage, reduce time to market and accelerate revenue from new services enabled by Alcatel-Lucent products.

At Alcatel-Lucent, Aiken has held several roles, including strategic analyst for the services business, senior research analyst focusing on wireless technologies and applications, and global alliance product manager.

Melissa started her career at NCR selling personal computers, servers and software and then became a senior marketing analyst specializing in strategy and technology. At AT&T she was responsible for public relations research with key constituent customer segments.

Hey all,

Tomorrow morning is our annual shareholder's meeting, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone who comes out. A bunch of people usually travel from some ways across the country to make it to the meeting -- I know what that's about and I really appreciate it a lot. There's something about MVIS that inspires a real passion in people, myself included. It's just an amazing thing and it's great to be a part of it.

So, thanks for coming out and see you tomorrow!

The Coming World of Mobile Sensors - ReadWriteWeb



At Supernova 2008 this week we got a glimpse of what’s next for mobile; and it has little to do with hardware like the iPhone, software like Google’s open-source operating system Android, mobile platforms put forth by Apple, Google, Nokia, Research in Motion, and the carriers.

What’s coming is life profound. Put billions of sensors in cell phones - regardless of hardware, operating system, or carrier - and affect the way we understand traffic or the weather.

With continued advances in chipsets, accelerometers, compasses, we can change the way we interact virtually with the physical world around us. We can turn monthly cell phone bills, which are difficult to use beyond paying, into living information integrated into our working and personal lives and social networks.

“We’re just getting started,” said Bob Iannucci, Nokia’s chief technology officer.

Iannucci, a computer industry veteran, feels like “I am kind of watching the same movie” as the mobile industry transforms itself from early hardware and software into technology deeply ingrained into our lives and the world around us.

In one example Iannucci discussed adding mobile sensors in cell phones that can detect any number of things — location and movement, barometric pressure and the weather around us, even our own personal health. What we will have in the near future are near-field communication, indoor positioning, and environmental analysis.

Iannucci mentioned a recent project involving Nokia, the world’s leading handset maker, and students from UC Berkeley. Nokia planted 100 N95 smartphones into 100 cars used by 150 students. These cell phone “probes” were able to measure real-time traffic.

Imagine if tens of thousands of data points from motorists in an area were collected, anonymized, uploaded to servers for aggregation and analysis, then pushed back to individual users. The phone, which already knows your route to work and your daily schedule, will be able to tell you that a traffic snarl is forming on the 405 and that you’ll never make your 9:30 meeting with a client in time — so here’s an alternate route.

In another example Iannucci noted that barometric sensors could be placed in cell phones — you can already buy sports watches from Suunto with weather sensors — that will monitor the environment around you. Include your data point with billions across the U.S. and the science of weather prediction undergoes a profound change.

“The ability to move information changes societies and livelihoods,” Iannucci said.

Cell phones can also impact the world around us in ways we cannot see, at least physically. Dean Terry, the director of the Mobile Lab at the University of Texas at Dallas, demonstrated the use of mobile devices in augmented reality, or the ability of people to leave behind virtual artifacts like text, photos, video, avatars, and game clues for people to discover with their phones.

As an example, you can enter a building, view the lobby through your cell phone, and see messages and art pieces left behind by others for you to see and enjoy. Or, if you’re at a conference downtown, you can view a restaurant or bar through a mobile device and see comments made by other diners and patrons on food, service, atmosphere, anything they want to leave behind.

“Imagine what it would look like at the Washington Monument if people left behind their comments,” Terry said.

In a more practical, immediate example, Jason Devitt of Skydeck showed an example of data generated by your cell phone — the calls you make, to whom, when, how long — and how this information can be mixed with your address book and social network to become more dynamic.

“You can see who you talk to most frequently, who is most important to you, and you can drop out the noise,” Devitt said. “All friends are not equal. Some are more important than others.”

Your Future Phone - Forbes.com: "Your Future Phone"

But before phones can really compete with your desktop computer or laptop, they'll have to get beyond at least one barrier: their tiny screens. One solution to those cramped displays is under development by Redmond, Wash.-based Microvision (nasdaq: MVIS - news - people ). The small firm builds projectors into phones, effectively allowing users to splash their display onto the nearest white wall or desktop surface.

"Customers are frustrated with small screens," says Microvision's spokesperson Matt Nichols. "We think that the real growth in the phone market will come when users can experience viewing from their phone on the level of their laptop or home television set."

Microvision plans to begin integrating its projectors into cellphones in mid-2009. Bigger companies jumping into so-called "pico projectors" include Texas Instruments (nyse: TXN - news - people ) and 3M (nyse: MMM - news - people ), which has announced that it will integrate projectors into Samsung devices--possibly including cellphones--sometime this year.

Consumer Applications Push MEMS to New Volumes - 6/20/2008 8:01:00 AM - Semiconductor International

Consumer Applications Push MEMS to New Volumes
SEMI, San Jose -- Semiconductor International, 6/20/2008 8:01:00 AM



MEMS will become a $7.6B business this year, as more and more developing consumer applications go into large-volume production, projects Yole Developpement (Lyon, France). The high-volume consumer market will bring with it a 25% jump in unit shipments, which will be countered by a relentless 6-7% overall decline in prices. It will also likely bring with it more reliance on foundries, and major new emphasis on shake testing high gravitational forces.

“Nintendo’s Wii and Apple’s iPhone really got user attention for what could be done with MEMS motion sensors,” said Rob O’Reilly, director of MEMS test at Analog Devices Inc. (Norwood, Mass.). “I got hundreds of calls and e-mails asking if we could do this or that for all types of innovative applications. The handset people all came out of the woodwork.”

The MEMS product line is now among the fastest growing at Analog, according to O’Reilly, based on demand from consumer devices. And the company expects strong growth to continue, as portable device makers look to add more convenient user interfaces, and all sorts of new markets develop — from accessible control systems for the handicapped, to contact microphones for musical instruments, to portable ultrasound systems. “Some time ago, the MEMS user group estimated MEMS per capita was about 1.5 devices per person, and would get up to 2,” he said. “That model has been completely blown away, with the MEMS adoption rates of gaming, GPS, portable media devices, cell phones and cameras. Me personally, I’m up to 6, and I know I’m not alone.”

That means a whole new kind of volume to deal with, as one cell phone model alone may run 40 million units. “OEMs will soon start asking for that weekly,” O’Reilly said. “You really need to use a foundry to meet this kind of demand.”

Digital camera modules, low-power displays, timing and handheld projectors

Also getting close to market are handheld projectors, allowing cell phones or laptops to display large images on most nearby surfaces. Microvison Inc. (Redmond, Wash.) is working with a variety of electronics suppliers to manufacture prototype units, and aims to have its initial MEMS-based display engine out by the end of the year, targeting high-volume consumer products with OEM partners in 2009.

The first volume product using the laser scanning technology is actually a barcode reader released late last year, using a simpler version of the MEMS mirror that oscillates on only one axis to project the scanning laser beam across the barcode, for a low-cost scanner for applications such as warehouses. That serves in part as a vehicle to ramp the company’s fab. “We’ve done demonstrations for years, but now we’re learning scaling,” said Jason Tauscher, Microvision’s manager of MEMS development. “We’re really starting to push volume now and stabilize the process.”

Microvision argues that its laser scanner approach, based on one MEMS mirror that oscillates on two axes within its frame, allows a smaller, lower-power device compared with competing approaches. Each pixel is generated by mixing red, green and blue laser beams into one beam of the desired color, which the scanning mirror then directs toward the right spot on the projection surface, rapidly reproducing the image pixel by pixel.

The GeoWeb on PSFK

In an article in the Financial Times about location based mobile technology, the journalist Richard Waters uses the term GeoWeb to describe a mobile web that knows and reacts to where you are. It’s a term we haven’t used before but sums up the idea nicely. Much of the article covers ideas PSFK has been discussing for a while, but later in the article, Waters goes on to consider some possible consequences of the GeoWeb:

Once the basic building blocks are in place, the interplay between the virtual world and the real world could become much more inventive. Using a geographically “aware” handset, says Mr Jorgensen [Microsoft], the user could simply issue an instruction to “show everything around me” on a particular subject: the device could trawl the web and filter and present information based on proximity.

Even seemingly fanciful ideas would become possible using these basic technologies, according to Ian Holt, who leads an advanced technology group at Ordnance Survey, the UK mapping agency. Why not location-aware spectacles? “As you look around, they will overlay data about what you’re looking at,” he says, like the “heads-up” displays used by fighter pilots.

According to the technocrats, ideas such as this are a stepping stone towards a future digital playground called “augmented reality”. It is a place where the real world becomes a frame on which to present information. Virtual reality would be turned inside out: rather than retreating into a make-believe virtual world, inhabitants of augmented reality will be living in real space but with layers of data overlaid to deliver a supercharged version of reality.

Using these technologies, real or fictitious information could be “mapped” on to the real world to create new experiences, says Mr Liebhold at the Institute for the Future. “At the click of a mouse, this street could be converted into a space colony or a mediaeval village. This hints at an enormous new entertainment industry.”

SID: See-Through, Bendy, and Round

What would SID be without cool and different new display technologies and ways to use them?



This see-though display from Microvision provides a HUD for anyone from a soldier needing a SITREP to a mechanic looking up a technical manual for the engine they're working on.


Hi all -- sorry I've been out of the loop here on the blog. Above is an image of the SD3000 see-through color display that we demonstrated at SID.

Here's a roundup of news stories coming out of SID from our booth there.

SID was a great show, we met all kinds of people from around the world, and people were very excited about the SD3000 see-through color display and our projectors.

I'll make an effort to keep the blog updated more often than I have over the last couple of months.

Hope you all are well, and stay tuned.

Thanks,
Ben

CFP: Gartner’s Top 10 Technologies of the Next Four Years

Gartner’s Top 10 Technologies of the Next Four Years
By Joshua Hill Sunday, June 1, 2008

The lifespan of technology is such that it’s hard enough to buy a computer that will last you more than three years, let alone be state of the art after 6 months. So when Gartner Group – an information and technology research and advisory firm – releases their “Top 10 Technologies” list, it isn’t for “the next decade,” but rather “for the next four years.”

Such a list has just been released by the world’s leading technology research center, and appears below.

1. Multicore and hybrid processors
2. Virtualization and fabric computing
3. Social networks and social software
4. Cloud computing and cloud/Web platforms
5. Web mashups
6. User Interface
7. Ubiquitous computing
8. Contextual computing
9. Augmented reality

10. Semantics

Ubiquitous computing
Want your fridge connected to the internet so that it can order the milk when it goes bad? Want to turn on the lighting or heating when you are on your way home from work? Want your life to be interconnected by the devices you use? Ubiquitous computing is also, funnily enough, called pervasive computing.

In addition, it means that, akin to cloud computing, your information can follow you from device to device. JB – who has helped me out with this article – describes that he wants “the football game to follow” him around. In other words, he sits in the car listening to the audio of the game, walks in to the house to his TV where it is then on, and then upstairs to his computer where it is then on.

Contextual computing
This is basically the idea that your computing devices will be able to perform based on whatever context you find yourself in. For example, when you undock your laptop from your work dock is it 12pm or 5pm. In other words, are you heading to a meeting – and thus don’t need anything special – or are you heading home, and thus need your calendar updated and emails checked?

This is also going to be used for mobile devices such as your phone. A recent grant was provided by Google to students at MIT for developing an application for the Android platform, that allowed the device it was on to sense whether you were outside, in a meeting or at home, thus allowing the device to swap profiles accordingly.

Augmented reality
We’ve often seen examples of this in futuristic movies. Those people wearing the goggles or with the contact lenses that pop up video calls, text, pictures, etc, that’s what we’re talking about when we use the term augmented reality. It’s basically augmenting your real-world reality with technology.

Microvision Unveils Advancements In Its Ultra-Miniature PicoP Display Engine at SID Display Week 2008

REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As consumers look for new ways to experience better and bigger visualization of data and video from their tiny mobile device screens, an ultra-miniature full-color projection display called PicoP™ is expected to bring home-cinema sized viewing to cell phones and even fashionable eyeglasses as well as projection displays into cars.

Microvision, Inc. (NASDAQ:MVIS), a global leader in innovative ultra-miniature projection display and image capture products for mobility applications, announced today that it plans to unveil advancements in its proprietary ultra-miniature display system, called PicoP™, at the Society for Information Display (SID) annual conference in Los Angeles, California, May 20 - 22, 2008, booth 849. Microvision expects to showcase multiple PicoP-enabled pre-commercial prototypes and engineering demonstrators representing recent developments it has made in collaboration with the Company’s manufacturing and supply-chain partners. Microvision’s President and CEO Alexander Tokman is also scheduled to present at the SID/Cowen 2008 Display Investors Conference on Wednesday, May 21st at 10:00 a.m. PT.

At the SID 2008 exhibition, Microvision plans to publicly demonstrate a palm-sized, self-contained, battery-operated, full-color pico projector, called SHOW™. The SHOW device is a prototype of a stand-alone pico projector intended for simple plug-and-play integration with mobile devices, such as cell phones, MP3 players, laptops and gaming devices.

Microvision also plans to introduce at SID its SD3000, an advancement in its see-through, full-color wearable display technology platform. Compared to existing wearable display technologies, which partially occlude the user’s surrounding environment or have low brightness levels, the SD3000 demonstrates bright, unobstructed see-through capability, allowing content to be clearly readable in full daylight. According to Dr. Aris Silzars, former President of SID, who recently previewed the SD3000, “Microvision’s transparent display solution surpasses the quality threshold for viewers to read messages, watch videos, or track their surroundings with GPS while still seeing the outside world. This development is really quite impressive.”

Additionally, Microvision plans to demonstrate its first full-color vehicle head-up display (HUD) based on the PicoP technology. A result of recent developments with one of Microvision’s global Tier 1 automotive partners, the HUD demonstrator shows automotive designers a full-color, configurable head-up display with high-contrast and brightness levels that are fully readable—even in bright daylight.

Alexander Tokman, Microvision president and CEO commented, “It was only a year ago at Display Week 2007 that we first unveiled our wide-angle PicoP engine. Since then, we have made tremendous progress towards commercializing the PicoP for several different applications. To capture the growing global demand, we are actively building the infrastructure for a high-volume, high-quality delivery of PicoP-enabled products. We have announced aggressive goals to further advance PicoP miniaturization, power reduction, and image quality. This is an exciting time for Microvision and the display industry.”

About PicoP

Microvision’s PicoP display engine is based on a modular, flexible architecture, comprised of directly modulated light sources, custom-drive electronics and software, optical combiners and Microvision’s MEMS single scanning mirror. The tiny scanning mirror itself is less than one square millimeter in area—or about the size of the head of a pin. The single scanning mirror 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.

The inherent advantages of this architecture include small form factor and low power requirements, while delivering very good image quality. PicoP uses a collimated beam of light to achieve very efficient full-color, hi-resolution, high-contrast images. Additionally, PicoP does not require any projection lenses and is therefore “focus-free” at any distance, which is another huge advantage inherent in the PicoP architecture.

About Microvision (www.microvision.com)

Microvision provides the PicoP display technology platform designed to enable next generation display and imaging products for pico projectors, vehicles displays, and wearable displays that interface to mobile devices. The company also manufactures and sells its bar code scanner product line which features the company’s proprietary MEMS technology.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer

Certain statements contained in this release, including those relating to future demonstrations, product introductions, applications and business prospects, as well as statements containing words like “could,” “expect,” “plan,” and other similar expressions, are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the Company’s forward-looking statements include the following: our ability to raise additional capital when needed; the risk of market acceptance of our technology and products, our financial and technical resources relative to those of our competitors; our ability to keep up with rapid technological change; our ability to enforce our intellectual property rights and protect our proprietary technologies; the timing of commercial product launches and delays in product development; the ability to achieve key technical milestones in key products; our ability to secure needed third party manufacturing and sales resources, dependence on third parties to develop, manufacture, sell and market our products; potential product liability claims and other risk factors identified from time to time in the Company’s SEC reports, including the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC. Except as expressly required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in circumstances or any other reason.

Corning Introduces the Green Laser G-1000 at SID Display Week 2008

Corning Introduces the Green Laser G-1000 at SID Display Week 2008
Green Lasers are Key Components for Micro-projectors

SID 2008

CORNING, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW) will introduce the Corning® Green Laser G-1000 at the Display Week 2008 conference held by the Society for Information Display (SID) in Los Angeles, Calif., May 18-23. The high efficiency, high speed and small size of the Corning Green Laser G-1000 device were designed for integration into laser-based micro-projectors for embedded handsets and other mobile devices.

“Corning’s Green Laser G-1000 enables brighter, more vibrant, full-color images and a much longer battery life than LED-based solutions. Green laser technology truly creates a new user experience – one where consumers can view, share and interact with mobile multi-media content such as user-generated images and video, mobile television and internet,” said Thomas Mills, business director, green lasers.

Corning has been supplying green lasers to strategic customers in North America and Asia since late 2007 and is now planning production capacity to meet future market demand.

Corning will be delivering two presentations on green laser technology during the event. In a poster session on May 22, the company will describe how high-quality images can be created with Corning green lasers. On May 23, Corning will be presenting a paper authored jointly with Konica Minolta. The paper will detail the Corning Green Laser G-1000 architecture and highlight how adaptive optics can help deliver robust and stable performance in a mobile device that is subjected to daily handling and indoor/outdoor conditions. This paper has been awarded the coveted “Distinguished Contributed Paper” designation by the 2008 SID International Symposium.

To learn more about Corning green laser technology, visit www.corning.com/green_laser.

About Corning Incorporated

Corning Incorporated (www.corning.com) is the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics. Drawing on more than 150 years of materials science and process engineering knowledge, Corning creates and makes keystone components that enable high-technology systems for consumer electronics, mobile emissions control, telecommunications and life sciences. Our products include glass substrates for LCD televisions, computer monitors and laptops; ceramic substrates and filters for mobile emission control systems; optical fiber, cable, hardware & equipment for telecommunications networks; optical biosensors for drug discovery; and other advanced optics and specialty glass solutions for a number of industries including semiconductor, aerospace, defense, astronomy and metrology.

Green laser meets mobile projection requirements - optics.org





May 9, 2008

Green laser meets mobile projection requirements

A lack of suitable green lasers has slowed the integration of scanning projectors into mobile devices. Now Michael Schmitt and Ulrich Steegmüller from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors claim that they have a device that meets all the requirements for this challenging application.

With most hand-held devices there is a mismatch between the display size and the device's ability to handle high-resolution content. Mobile phones, personal media players, digital cameras and many other hand-held devices can display high-resolution images, but usually only have a display with a diagonal of less than 2.5 inches and a resolution of maximum QVGA (320 x 240 pixel). One way of solving this issue is to integrate a projector into the hand-held device.

Projection displays

Such projectors can be realized either by micro-display or laser-scanning technology. If a micro-display approach is used, the imager is illuminated by an appropriate light source and the image is subsequently projected through an optical system. There are several advantages and disadvantages to this approach. Superior image quality on one side comes with lower efficiency, complex optics and a fairly large overall projector size. To enable the integration of projectors into hand-held devices, these disadvantages can be overcome by using a laser-scanning projection display.

In a laser-scanning or "flying spot" projector, the picture is written on a screen, using three lasers emitting red, green and blue light. The light is combined into one beam and a mirror system is used to scan over the screen, which can be an arbitrary surface. Each single pixel is written by a pulse of green, blue and red laser light with a pulse length in the tens of nanosecond range, depending on the image resolution. The intensity of each pixel is defined by the amplitude of the pulse. The advantages of laser-scanning projectors are that they have a large depth of focus; the ability to be projected on any arbitrarily formed surface; and they have a high colour brilliance due to the saturated colours of the laser light sources. Also the simple optics and the small form factor of the lasers are key items for realizing an integrated projector. Since lasers are coherent light sources, scanned beam images can contain a substantial amount of speckle contrast, which may reduce perceived image quality. Appropriate designs of the optical system can help to reduce the speckle content.

OSRAM's green laser requirements

A laser-scanning projector puts certain requirements on the lasers. The lasers must be efficient to enable battery-powered operation and have sufficient optical output power to provide the required on-screen brightness. They must have a small form factor; be capable of handling high modulation speeds for high-resolution images; have high beam quality to provide small spots on the screen for sharp images; and have low noise to enable brightness control.

Due to their mature technology red and blue lasers already fulfil these requirements and are available as edge-emitting laser diodes. A green laser for this application, however, has been more elusive.

In the green spectral range a directly emitting semiconductor material is not available at present. An infrared optically pumped semiconductor disk laser (OPS) together with a frequency doubling nonlinear crystal is therefore used to generate green light. The configuration of the laser in principle is: an 808 nm infrared laser optically pumps the OPS chip that emits 1060 nm. Inside an external cavity the frequency doubling takes place and leads to 530 nm green light emission. The OPS technology is chosen because it can be highly integrated, provides excellent beam quality, possesses a large modulation bandwidth and allows power scaling.

In more detail, the OPS chip is pumped by a standard edge-emitting 808 nm GaAlAs laser diode. It was optimized for low threshold and provides a wall-plug efficiency of more than 50%. The divergent emission of the 808_nm diode is pre-collimated and focused on the OPS chip surface by a lens system.

The OPS chip is designed for an emission of 1060 nm and is grown on a 4-inch GaAs substrate using MOVPE technology. After epitaxial growth the wafers are coated and further processed to prepare for mounting, tested and finally separated into individual dies. The size is approximately 1 x 1 mm. Since the OPS chip includes a Bragg reflector, it forms one side of the resonant cavity and the cavity end mirror forms the other side. The small aperture cavity mirror is aligned and assembled to achieve high output power at fundamental mode (TEM00) operation. All optical surfaces of the cavity elements have been designed to minimize losses at 1060 nm to keep high conversion efficiency. The physical length of the cavity is short, enabling fast laser build-up and high modulation bandwidth.

To convert the 1060 nm light into 530 nm, quasi-phasematched commercially available MgO:PPLN crystals are used inside the cavity. The use of short and simple bulk crystals gives a significant advantage in terms of cost, since the material cost of green lasers is strongly influenced by the frequency doubling material.

Additional elements within the cavity serve as wavelength stabilization, temperature adjustment of the crystal and output coupler for the green light while maintaining high reflectivity for the fundamental 1060 nm wave.

All of the components of the green laser are assembled on a substrate that is mounted onto a metal carrier, which acts as an additional heat sink and provides the mechanical interface to the outside. A flexible printed circuit provides the electrical connection from the outside to the laser. For mechanical shelter and dust protection a metal cover is mounted over the laser system, which leads to an overall size of the green laser package (without the flex interface) of only 13 x 6.5 x 4.8 mm.

Regarding the optical output power, both threshold current and overall efficiency are important. The threshold current is determined by the 808 nm pump diode and the 1060 nm OPS chip. Both add up to a typical threshold of about 150 mA. With an efficiency of about 7% a typical optical output at 530 nm of about 70 mW at 500 mA can be achieved. The beam has a circular Gaussian profile with an M2 value close to 1. Theoretical modelling, as well as first high-speed measurements, confirm the laser's capability for high modulation speeds. Also no significant green noise can be observed, and the laser shows stable operation over a large range of amplitudes and pulse widths.

With these impressive performance characteristics, green lasers are now able to meet all the requirements that are mandatory for integration into a scanning-beam projector for mobile applications. Prototype scanning projectors for mobile applications are now starting to appear on the market thanks to the long-awaited availability of suitable green-laser sources.

• This article originally appeared in the May 2008 issue of Optics & Laser Europe magazine.

View pdf of article

About the author
Michael Schmitt and Ulrich Steegmüller are from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors. For more information, e-mail michael.schmitt@osram-os.com or see www.osram-os.com.


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