Over the last few years, millions of products incorporating pico projection have shipped, and developers are innovating new applications for this rapidly growing display category. Applications for pico projection include near eye display, interactive digital signage, head mounted display, ultra short throw TV, standalone portable projectors and embedded projection in smartphones, tablets and laptops as illustrated in Figure 1. New uses continue to emerge; for example, imagine a thermostat using an on-demand display with interactive touch.
Fig. 1: A smartphone embedding a DLP Pico MEMS projector
After a developer formulates a great idea on how to use pico technology in their application, they are faced with several factors to be considered. As noted in the block diagram of Figure 2, these include selection of the display technology, light source, optics and software. A well-chosen selection of these variables can result in an end product with optimal power and light efficiency capable of delivering bright, high quality images.
Fig. 2: A typical DLP display
So what are the considerations for designing a pico projector that will maximize power efficiency and yet deliver large, bright and crisp images? We will next address each one of these variables.