Sunday, June 9, 2013

MicroVision | End of the Tunnel and on the Road to Recovery



The last post I wrote about MicroVision was over a year ago; and the title was the most revealing and depressing…

MicroVision | End of the Road or End of the Tunnel

A year later─ after blowing another $16 million or so down the hole─ we seem to be at another juncture in the MicroVision saga.  This time; it’s the end of the long tunnel for MicroVision.  That’s a good thing… because there’s green light at the end of the tunnel.

Over the last year, we have seen some major cost cutting measures… but still burning $12 million dollars or so per year. That’s an excellent effort and is good enough to save the company while still waiting for Diode Green Laser (DGL) supply to ramp-up later this year.

MicroVision stock has moved up by over 100% in the last few weeks. At the rate MVIS stock price is going [up]; it looks like the end of the tunnel.  This renewed optimism is based on changed perception and some concrete information on cost, performance, and scalability in production for the DGLs.

Here’s the green light of hope setting into the picture…

First, the good old pesky Diode Green Lasers─ the Holy Grail to the MicroVision salvation...

Before we get into details and start talking about Diode Green Lasers and Holy Grail and such, lets re-visit the issues once more…

Lately, there has been some visible activity and good news at MicroVision─ other than talks of stock issues and dilution.  And that makes me wonder: “What's up with PicoP SHOW at the Displayland of laser based Pico Projectors?”

Here's the latest scoop and thinking based on some consumer feedback...
  1. Fifteen lumen bright Pico projectors, regardless of the brand name or the underlying technology, are a toy as a standalone device... but the market is quite receptive to such devices in the $99 to $149 range. However, anything better than 15 lumen is definitely a differentiating improvement and worthy of $129 to $199 price tag. Guess what, MicroVision PicoP display engine is at 35 lumens currently and pushing envelop to 50 lumens by the end of this year.
  2. Fifteen lumen bright Pico projectors, using panel or DLP/LED technology, use too much battery power and need constant focusing... and they will also have other gating [like size and heat] issues making into the mobile devices. If panel/DLP/LED technology gets past the mobile platform gating issues; but at 15 lumens they will still be considered a toy.  However, the market is quite receptive to such devices in the $99 to $149 range... especially when someone else [like AT&T or Verizon] is paying for it. MicroVision PicoP engine at 35/50 lumens uses very little incremental energy compared to 15 lumens engine… and that’s a game changer in favor of MicroVision.
  3. Fifteen lumen bright Pico projectors, using MEMS/DGL technology, present a more favorable solution to the battery power issues and do not need constant focusing... and they will have far fewer mobile platform gating issues. However, at 35 to 50 lumens such laser based devices will be considered bright and business class productivity tool... and market is quite receptive to such devices in the $149 to $199 range... especially when someone else is paying for it. 
  4. There are currently two suppliers of DGLs and the third one is coming on-line by the end of this year. Current cost of DGLs is in the $40 per unit range with prices going down every Quarter… with year end 2013 price to fall in the $20 per unit range.
  5. DGL production in 2014, with three suppliers in play, is expected to really ramp-up into millions. And that’s what will encourage the Fortune 100 Electronics giants to venture and introduce Pico projectors into millions of digital devices… with ramp-up at 5% to 7% per Qtr. 
Bottom line is...

“... Can MicroVision make 35 or 50 lumen bright DGL based HD IPMs [High Definition Integrated Photonic Modules] for embedded PicoP projectors in millions; and make them cheap enough to be able to sell them in the $69 to $99 range; and manage to stave-off the financial spiral by showing some net profit on each sale?”

A few dollars profit on each unit sold could easily translate into hundreds of millions of dollars in profit when adoption rates in handheld devices accelerate into tens of million units in the next 1-2 years.

In my opinion, the answer, with some qualifications, is an astounding YES.

Here’s why…

Sony, Sumitomo push laser projectors forward with a new, more powerful green laser diode…


Here for real…

“The commercial arrival of the lasers will be welcome news for the likes of US-based MicroVision, which is at the forefront of pico-projector technology development but has struggled financially – partly as a result of delays in the development of direct green emitters, and the high cost of those that are available. The company’s VP of research and development Dale Zimmerman told optics.org last month (May 2012):

“We believe direct-diode green lasers are finally here for real. We are confident that as volume expands we'll see the pricing of the diodes come down dramatically, along with further improvements in efficiency, and anticipate that red, blue and green direct-diode lasers will be broadly available.”

At the moment, it appears that Sony’s lasers are leading on the efficiency front, thanks to the use of semi-polar structure. The Japanese electronics giant said in June 2012, that the devices developed with Sumitomo offered an electrical efficiency of 8%, ahead of the 5-6% quoted by Osram OS.

This is the best news in the history of MicroVision!!!

DGLs at over 100mW in the true green region wavelength of 530nm and at 8% wall efficiency…

“… will allow MicroVision to produce 35 to 50 lumen bright HD IPMs that will take less energy and can be scaled to millions at much reduced cost.”

Now here’s the question for the CEO and BODs of MicroVision...

“After six years of financial orgy─ that produced insignificant amount of sales of anything but involved dozens of highly paid managers and support staff─ can you deliver, now that you have efficient and cheap DGLs that you always wanted?”

Or you have another excuse, like…

“… We have cut the fat so deep; it may be “slicing the bone” and caused structural damage to the integrity of the company.”

Investors of MicroVision want to know?

The last hand is in play... and over the next 6 months it’s the do or quit time for MicroVision brass.



Producer CEO - RKNet Studios


Download Mobile Apps for Cognitive Development: 



video