Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Microvision: Patents Laser 3D Projector with PicoP Display Engine (Part 1)

3D TVs started to arrive in consumer electronic stores in early March to great fanfare, and consumers are intrigued...but are also curious. The big question, of course, is whether these new TVs can transport the 3D excitement from movie theaters to our homes.

Based on excitment generated by the first available HDTV models with 3D video capabilities, the answer is a resounding yes.

Research has shown that users prefer wide screen, high definition, 2D/3D motion pictures with fast refresh [without motion blur] and always in focus images for all forms of video [static, streaming, and broadcast] communications.

3D Content Meets 3D Laser Projector:

3D content is proliferating rapidly. Movies, games and increasingly live sports and concert videos are being filmed in 3D. One unique challenge facing this emerging category is the lack of in-home 3D displays. The 120Hz LCD panels and plasma screens typically require shutter glasses for viewing 3D content, but next generation display technologies employ passive 3D glasses… which are lighter weight, cost less and are more acceptable to the wearer.

Microvision's laser scanning PicoP Display technology platform enables 3D content in the home that is viewed through lightweight passive glasses… all without the purchase of a new, large, expensive flat panel monitor. Recently, in June of 2009, Ben Averch of Microvision made a presentation at the 2009 Projection Summit. His presentation addressed the burgeoning 3D content market and the unique value proposition for a mobile 3D laser projector…using Microvision’s PicoP Display Engine.

In March 2009, Microvision received a patent on laser PicoP based 3D projector. That means the laser PicoP Display Engine of today will have upward growth mobility to High Definition projection [first] and then to 3D projection using passive glasses. That’s an exciting growth road map for the little master of the pico projector domain.

Here’s the information on the patent…

Title: THREE-DIMENSIONAL IMAGE PROJECTION SYSTEM AND METHOD

Abstract:
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 to the patent document…
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20090079941.html

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 3D movies coming out lately… they have dramatically increased. Here’re some quotes from the patent application…

3D Technology:

“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.”

Microvision 3D Projector patent states…

“In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, an image projection system comprises a light emission system and a scanning device, wherein the light emission system includes a plurality of light sources. For example, the light sources may be two sets of red-green-blue (“RGB”) lasers, where one set of lasers transmits light in a first polarization state and the other set of lasers transmits light in a second polarization state that is different from the first polarization state. Thus, this embodiment comprises two red lasers, two green lasers, and two blue lasers, where the red lasers emit light having different polarization states from each other, the green lasers emit light having different polarization states from each other, and the blue lasers emit light having different polarization states from each other. The light can be linearly polarized or circularly polarized. In the case of a linear polarization state, the light transmitted to one filter may be vertically polarized and the light transmitted to the other filter may be horizontally polarized. In the case of a circular polarization state, the light transmitted to one filter may be right circularly polarized and the light transmitted to the other filter may be left circularly polarized. It should be noted that the light may be coherent light or non-coherent light.

The light from one set of lasers is combined and redirected towards a display screen using a scanning device and the light from the other set of lasers is combined and redirected towards the display screen using the same scanning device as the first set of lasers or a different scanning device. The scanning device spatially modulates the light to vary the color and intensity of each pixel. The scanned beam displays are configured to slightly vary the content between the two two-dimensional images as they are projected into a viewer's eyes. The brain uses this difference in content to create an illusion of depth. More particularly, the light from one set of RGB lasers is in a first polarization state and the light from the other set of RGB lasers is in a second polarization state that is the opposite of the first polarization state. The light from all the lasers may be combined into a single light beam and spatially modulated in unison. Thus, all the light sources are scanned through the same angular extent. The three-dimensional image may be created by temporally delaying the video signal and modulating the intensity of each laser. The scattered light strikes eyewear worn by a viewer, wherein the eyewear includes a filter associated with the viewer's left eye and a filter associated with the viewer's right eye.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, privacy in a public forum may be provided by the image projection system. The eyewear worn by the viewer is configured to decode polarized light. The light can be linearly polarized or circularly polarized. The portable handheld source of electromagnetic radiation projects an image in a first polarization state and an inverse image in a second polarization state that is complementary to the first polarization state. The viewer wearing the eyewear can filter one set of images seeing only the desired content transmitted by the portable handheld source of electromagnetic radiation, whereas others see a “white image” on the display screen. Thus, the viewer can view projected images that are of a personal nature or confidential while others are prevented from viewing or decoding the images. Alternatively, privacy in a public forum can be achieved by using eyewear that is synchronized to the polarization states of the light.”

The display screen is a polarization preserving screen. Thus, the light striking display screen and the light scattered by display screen have the same polarization state. In accordance with one embodiment, display screen comprises a microlens array coated with a layer of aluminum. In accordance with another embodiment, display screen comprises a surface having a silver finish. Suitable screens may be available from Da-Lite Screen Company, Warsaw, Ind., 46581.

Eyewear set comprises of a frame having bow, temples, and filters that transmit images to the left and right eyes. Filters are configured to decode polarized light. The polarized light can be linearly polarized light or circularly polarized light. Filters comprise a quarter-wavelength plate laminated to a polarizer. It should be noted that the type of plates laminated to polarizer are not limitations of the present invention. For example, plates can be waveplates, polarizer filters, combinations of polarizers, combinations of waveplates, polarizing optics, or the like. In addition, the polarization transmission characteristics of filters are not limitations of the present invention. Filters may be configured to decode vertically or horizontally polarized light or right or left circularly polarized light. Techniques for coupling plates to polarizers are known to those skilled in the art.

Here’s what I think…

The PicoP Display Engine will first go with High Definition images and then progress to 3D projection. That looks like the growth path for the next 2 to 3 years with huge revenue growth potential.

Anant Goel
http://www.wealthbyoptions.com/