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Microvision debuts handheld projector for mobiles

by Nick Flaherty
Friday 11 January 2008

US chip startup Microvision has developed a prototype of a handheld projector for mobile phones and personal media players using a micromachined mirror that it demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show last week. This is increasingly important as phones and PMPs start to handle higher quality content that needs to be displayed and leads the way to integrating a projector into a phone. The company has a deal with Motorola for such an integration.

“Working together with Microvison, we are pursing ways that projection technology can redefine how mobile consumers view and intereact with the media they take with them,” said Rob Shaddock, chief technology officer of Motorola Mobile Devices and one of the founders of UK-based digital signal processing specialist Loughborough Sound Images.

Unlike the Digital Light Processor micromachined mirror array from Texas Instruments, Microvision's SHOW projector uses a single mirror that is moved in two dimensions with red, green and blue scanning laser beams to project an image up to 2.5m across at wide screen WVGA, DVD resolution from a phone.

This keeps the size down to 7mm thick and allows the projector to be powered by a battery for two and a half hours between charges. This is significantly lower power than the mirror arrays or liquid crystal (LCOS) projector technologies, says the company, and comes from the one dimensional laser scanner that Microvision developed for bar code scanners. The company also has a deal with a tier one automotive equipment maker to develop the technology for a head-up display in cars.

The handheld projector is scheduled to go into production by the end of the year, says Microvision.


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