'Pico Projectors' Creating Buzz at CES

January 9, 2009

2 Min Read
'Pico Projectors' Creating Buzz at CES

Texas Instruments (TI) DLPchips are taking center stage at the ConsumerElectronics Show in Las Vegas today, as electronics companies ranging fromSamsung to Dell to Toshiba demonstrate so-called "pico projector" technology.

The newtechnology, which enables cell-phone-sized handheld devices to project videosand computer files on screens as big as 50 inches, uses a TI chipset that gotits start in the television market. Known as the DLPPico Chipset, the new technology is serving as the foundation for such tinyprojectors as the Samsung MBP200, theCinemin Stick from WowWee Technologies, PicoPK-101 from Optoma, the BUG projector fromBUG Labs and a host of pico-basednotebook companion products from Dell, Toshiba and Acer.Most notably, Samsung today is reportedly wowing CES showgoers by demonstratinga soon-to-be-released "smart phone" from Samsung that incorporates DLP Picotechnology, thus enabling it to project multimedia.

"We saw itlast night and it's an incredible product," says Frank Moizio, businessmanager for DLP emerging markets at TI. "It's absolutely amazing."

TI engineerssay the key to the splashy debut of such products is its DLP technology, which consists of microchipsthat incorporate millions of tiny mirrors measuring just 8 µm across. The corefeature of the technology is the switching speed of the mirrors - at 8 µs,they're about 1,000 times faster than liquid crystal displays, TI says. Todate, the technology has made a name for itself in HDTV systems.

TIengineers say they glimpsed an opportunity a few years ago in the projectionmarket. "We saw that mobile devices had a limited viewing screen and we asked,‘Is there a way we can apply our technology to solve that problem?'" Moiziosaid at CES earlier today. "We were talking about, ‘Wipe the slate clean andfigure out how to go from a two-pound product to a two-ounce product.'"

TI spenttwo years developing the DLP chipset before introducing it as a concept at CESlast year. This year, many of the products have gone into, or are about to gointo, full production.

Competingconcepts are expected to be introduced at this year's CES. DLP Pico's low powerconsumption and small size, however, appear to have given TI a head start inthe Pico Projector arena.

"From here,our technology looks like it's only going to get better with time," Moiziosaid.  

View a video of Pico DLP at CES.

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