Chemists and physicians physicists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF) in Jena, have produced a projector that consists of a new optical system capable of projecting crisp images even in bright sun-filled rooms.
The optical system, appearing to be a tiny cube, is only 11mm square and 3mm thick and works by shining a powerful LED lamp through it. And, it’s able to store a large number of pixels within a small space due to advances in both nano and micro technology.
IOF’s Micro-optical systems contain modules and systems constructed of micro optic components, an optical technology that is currently being developed for laser and lighting engineering and optical sensing.
The special thing about the new projection technology is that the image is already integrated in the micro-optics. The pixels measuring just a hundred nanometers or so are stored in a chromium layer under the lens array. Such a microarray has around 250 microlenses, and under each lens there is a microimage. When all of them are projected onto the wall together, a high-quality complete image is produced from an extremely small projector,” – Marcel Sieler, physicist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF ).
Some of IOF’s lights-on projector prototypes are as small as a book of matches and the technology could potentially be used in devices such as mini-cameras due to its tiny flat design. Of course, we’ve already seen lots of new devices that have tiny projectors built-in like WowWee Technologies’ Cinemin Slice and Swivel. Samsung’s pocket-sized projector (SP-H03) sports 30-lumens although, in order to view its full 80″ image, both the lights and the shades need to be adjusted to keep out light, the case with most projectors on the market.
The commercial prospects for ultra-flat micro-optical systems are excellent because they open up numerous new applications – like minicameras or miniprojectors.