CES - Microvision projector will fit in shirt pocket

Microvision's new prototype projector makes other ultraportable, pocket projectors look like boulder-sized rocks.

The concept of ultraportable, pocket projectors isn't new: Mitsubishi and Samsung both have models they refer to as "pocket" size. By comparison with Microvision's new prototype projector, those models are boulder-sized rocks.

When it's ready for market in late 2008, the Microvision Show (that's the codename--the final product will be sold under another name by someone other than Microvision), will be the size of the iPod Classic and will fit into a shirt pocket. The prototype I saw in action today is not too much larger than the iPod Classic.

The battery-powered device projects images via a single, 1mm micro-mirror. The unit uses a laser for its light source; the entire light engine requires just 7mm by 200mm by 40mm of space. The light source has three lasers that combine into 1 beam of light projected onto the mirror; the mirror moves 30 million times per second to output the pixels.

The bulk of the unit's real estate (more than 60 percent) goes to the battery alone. An embedded version of the light source is also under development, so the projector can be built into other devices, including cell phones, notebooks, and portable media players. The projector outputs images at 848 by 480 pixels (WVGA), which is higher than many other pocket projectors can handle.

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Melissa Perenson

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