60-Second Tech

Embedded Mini Projectors Coming to Smart Phones

Researchers are developing small, energy-efficient and luminous three-color laser light sources into smart phones that will enable the projection of screen images onto flat surfaces. Larry Greenemeier reports

As much as mobile-phone technology improves over time, there's one aspect guaranteed to remain the same—screen size. Any bigger and you start creeping into tablet territory. That's why laser-based mini projectors have become popular. Connect one to your phone, and you can display a much larger version of your screen onto most surfaces.

Now researchers from VTT Technical Research Center, the Aalto University and laser-maker EpiCrystals, Inc., in Finland are looking to integrate mini projectors into the phone itself. The key is making a small, energy-efficient and luminous three-color laser light source that can be embedded without driving up handset costs. The researchers hope that their technology will reach the market in the next few years. (Of course, that’s just a projection.)

Here in the States, Redmond, Wash.-based MicroVision plans to sell its embedded mini projector chip to makers of cell phones, portable media players, digital cameras, laptops and even cars. They can't make your home movies and vacation photos more interesting, but at least your audience will be wowed by how you display them.

—Larry Greenemeier

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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