At the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held from January 8-11 in Las Vegas Nevada, Swiss semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics (STM) announced a new optical engine prototype and a projector reference design. The MEMS based optical engine produces 15 ANSI lumens at 720p (1280 x 720) resolution using red, blue and green laser diodes. The optical engine displaces a mere 1.7cc and measures just 5mm (0.19 inches) high. The projector prototype is also quite small, measuring only 3.1” x 1.6” x 2.4”. The Li-Ion battery, which provides approximately one hour of viewing time, is larger than the optical engine or any of the the projector’s other internal components. STM, who acquired Israeli MEMS imager maker bTendo last year, plans to increase production of the optical engines. The representatives in STM’s private suite indicated that we should expect to see them integrated into other products very soon.
PMA’s projector market research has watched MEMS and MOEMS developments for some time and noted that the expansion of these technologies was severely limited by the lack of commercially viable green laser illumination components. Our experience at CES offers some hope that green laser diodes are becoming available in large enough quantities and at reasonable enough pricing that this segment of the New Era projector market may now begin to grow.