Inside the PicoP Display engine…

Matt Nichols

March 26th, 2009
by Matt Nichols

I’m off on Monday, March 30th, to the Global Press Summit with Ian Brown, VP Sales & Marketing.  The Global Press Summit, held in San Francisco, is a media only event where 50+ editors from the world’s leading embedded systems and electronics publications converge to learn about what’s new.  Microvision was invited to participate on a panel to discuss the Growth in Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and to showcase our single scanning mirror MEMS-based Pico Projector.  If we get some additional press coverage from this event, I’ll make sure to post the articles.

And for those that might be asking…what is MEMS, and why is it important to Microvision’s solution?  Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) is the integration of mechanical elements, sensors, actuators, and electronics on a common silicon substrate through microfabrication technology. Often referred to as a system-on-a-chip, MEMS are enabling the development of smart products, ranging from solutions in automobiles, medical devices, mobile phones, pico projectors and more.  While parts of the technology industry are experiencing reduced demand during the global economic slump, the MEMS industry continues to grow at a double-digit clip, according to industry analysts.

Because Microvision’s MEMS single scanning mirror device, which is an integral component of our PicoP display engine, is manufactured using batch fabrication techniques similar to those used for integrated circuits, unprecedented levels of functionality, reliability, and sophistication can be placed on a small silicon chip at a low cost.  The figure included in this post shows the basic layout of the PicoP display engine, which is an elegant architecture.  Seen in the diagram are:

–Red, green and blue lasers, each with a lens near the laser output that collects the light from the laser and provide a very low NA (numerical aperature) beam at the output.

–The light from the three lasers is then combined into a single white beam.

–The beam is relayed onto Microvision’s biaxial MEMS scanning mirror that scans the beam in a raster pattern.

–The projected image is created by modulating the three lasers synchronously with the position of the scanned beam.

The assembled PicoP display engine is just 7mm in height and about 5 cc in total volume, which is small and thin enough to be embedded inside sleek, contemporary mobile devices.

You can learn more about MEMS by visiting the MEMS Industry Group Web Site.  Microvision has been a member of the MEMS Industry Group for the past two years.

Look forward to reporting back to you from San Francisco, have a great weekend!

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 3:14 PM and is filed under MEMS, Pico Projectors.
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4 Responses to “Inside the PicoP Display engine…”

  1. Anant Goel Says:

    MVIS:Path to HD & 3D Projection

    Microvision just received a new patent on 3D projection. That means the PicoP Display Engine of to-day will have upward growth mobility to first the High Definition projection and then 3D projection. That’s an exciting growth road map for the little master of the pico projector domain.


    An image projection system having an optical projector and a method for projecting an image. The image projection system enables viewing the images in three dimensions and securely viewing the images in a public forum. The image projection system may include a portable, handheld optical projector that is spaced apart from a display screen and that redirects an image signal to the display screen. The image signal is scattered by the display screen and transmitted to a viewer’s eyes through a set of eyewear worn by the viewer. The display screen preserves the polarization state of the image signal. The portable handheld optical projector may be a cellular phone, a personal digital assistant, a portable computer, or the like that includes one or more sets of light emission systems capable of projecting the image signal. The optical projector may be portable and handheld, or stationary or semi-stationary.

    Here’s the link…

    This is great news for the simple reason:

    The next big thing that the display industry is going into is 3D. Look at the number of movies, for example, coming out lately have dramatically increased. Here’s some quotes from the patent application…

    “In addition to displaying images in two-dimensions, projection display manufacturers have developed systems for displaying images in three-dimensions. One technique for creating three dimensional (“3D”) projection display systems is to create two separate monochromatic images…

    Although these systems are inexpensive to implement, the color reproduction of the images is poor and the filters may not completely block the adjacent eye’s image, which causes ghosting. Further, the technique uses large immobile equipment to project the images.”

    “Another technique for creating a 3D image is to project separate images having different polarization states…

    This technique offers better color reproduction than the red-blue monochromatic technique, however the projection displays are large, stationary, expensive to implement, and, because about half the light is lost, inefficient.”

    “Accordingly, it would be advantageous to have a three-dimensional display system and a method for displaying three-dimensional images that is, cost efficient to manufacture, makes efficient use of light, and may be either stationary or portable.”

    “The portable handheld optical projector may be a cellular phone, a personal digital assistant, a portable computer, or the like that includes one or more sets of light emission systems capable of projecting the image signal. The optical projector may be portable and handheld, or stationary or semi-stationary.”

    First, it will be the PicoP projectors with High Definition images (1280 X 720 pixels) and then going to 3D projection. That looks like the growth path for the next 2 to 5 years with huge revenue potential.

    Anant Goel

  2. Keep up the great work! This blog gives me some insight into the hard work and promotion/marketing activities that are taking place at Microvision. Helps me rest easy as an investor, and encourages me to keep adding to my position!

    Way to go!


  3. I think you will get their attention if you do a live video feed of the Global Press Summit while you are there and show off the press with the product that should get there attention.Just a tought. When can we start pre- selling these things. I can NOT wait…

  4. Anant Goel Says:

    MVIS: What’s New in Laser Land?

    For the color laser micro-projector, Red-Green-Blue (RGB) laser sourcing has for a long time been one of the blocking factors for MEMS-based pico-projector development.

    Technical challenges have been overcome by some laser manufacturers that are now providing the three basic colors. It is expected that these lasers will be mass-produced in single bar that is a platform integrating the three laser sources, instead of three individual lasers, by 2010-2011. Pico projector pricing is then strongly related not only to volume but also to initial technology choices, the business model and product strategy.

    Anant Goel