Monday, June 8, 2015

From Laser Focus World

At Laser Focus World

In the last few years, picoprojectors have all but faded away in smartphone--at least until the Lenovo Techworld event in Beijing last week where Lenovo showed off a pre-production smartphone containing a laser pico projector. Not only can this phone project an image on a screen, but if you stand the phone up on its end using its built-in stand and flip a lens around at its top, this smartphone can project a virtual keyboard on a hard surface, while reading back your finger positions. Even better, any image can be created, resulting in a virtual touch screen on the surface in front of the phone.

The Lenovo smartphone uses a micro projector that is less than 5 mm thick, while still incorporating red, green, and blue lasers, lens, and micro mirrors. Lenovo hasn’t said if they created the micro projector themselves or if it’s purchased from another company, but several companies do produce laser picoprojector modules, including Microvision (Redmond, WA) and Compound Photonics (Durham, England).

The total worldwide picoprojector market was less than 9 million units in 2014 while at the same time more than a billion wireless phones were sold. Could the introduction of the first laser picoprojector in a smartphone be the beginning of a new trend? Possibly.

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