At CEATEC 2012, held in Makuhari, Chiba, Japan October 2 – 6, Panasonic Precision Device Co. (Kumamoto, Japan) demonstrated several projector innovations, including a green laser, a MEMS projector prototype and a DLP based pico companion projector.
The 532nm green laser prototype produces 1W using SHG (Second Harmonic Generation). Panasonic claims that the primary innovation is the improvement of wave length conversion to 10% (from 4-5%) while maintaining cooling control. The new module, which displaces only 2cc, is said to operate at 20°-30°C compared with previous versions that ran as high as 60°C. Utilizing the power and efficiency the new laser provides, Panasonic believes that 100 lumen laser illuminated projectors are feasible. Samples are scheduled to become available in January 2013. Pricing was not disclosed.
Panasonic demonstrated the new green laser in a MEMS based optical imaging unit (OIU) reference design measuring just 7.5mm in height and producing 20 lumens at WVGA (800×480) resolution. Image quality was said to be typical for this stage of development. While the OIU is thicker than the 7.2mm thickness of the recently introduced iPhone 5, it is thin enough to find wide usage in a variety of applications.
Panasonic combined the new green laser with red and blue laser diodes and a DLP imager to create a prototype pico projector. The brightness was said to be 100 lumens at WVGA (854×480) resolution and Panasonic claims it falls within IEC Class 2 regulations. Image quality is still in the prototype phase, including some observed speckle. Panasonic indicated that they may sell the SHG green laser, optical engine, and/or a complete projector, beginning in 2013.
As the lack of commercially available green lasers continues to hinder the developement of laser illuminated New Era projectors, PMA’s projector market research closely follows the development of lasers. 2012 was widely anticipated to be the year green laser diodes hit the market in volume, but they never materialized.