Sep 142010

EPFL/Lemoptix projector

The development of a tiny new video projector has recently been announced by Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) via its spin-off company, Lemoptix.

The projector is said to be smaller in area than a credit card, with a projection head measuring one cubic centimeter. Developers of the device foresee it becoming commercially available in smartphones, laptops and digital cameras, with industrial applications including possible use in operating rooms.

The projector’s micro electro-mechanical (MEM) system incorporates a tiny mirror, less than a millimeter thick. It is mounted on a silicon disc, where it reflects red, green and blue laser beams. The mirror oscillates rapidly, allowing the three combined laser beams to scan a projection surface up to 20,000 times a second.

Last month, the Lemoptix team had their first success in using the device to project a VGA (640 x 480) image. It can project from a minimum distance of 50 centimeters (19.7 inches), producing an image equivalent in size to a 15-inch (38 cm.) screen. Larger screen sizes are achieved simply by moving the projector farther back from the projection surface, which will not require the user to refocus the image.

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