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A Video Projector That Fits In Your Pocket 187

Posted by timothy
from the princess-in-robot-tech dept.
Sven-Erik writes "Video projectors able to project high-quality images will be embedded in your cellphones and laptops within two years. This is the promise of a new technology developed at Cambridge University. These pocket projectors will have no lenses and no light bulbs. Instead, these future battery-powered tiny projectors will rely on holographic technology and special algorithms. In 'Holograms enable pocket projectors,' Technology Research News explains that a 2D hologram will be created on a microdisplay and projected by using a laser beam. This has been possible because the researchers have written special algorithms which generates the holograms a million times faster than standard ones." Update: 07/03 21:21 GMT by T : Note that this text belongs to Roland Piquepaille and comes from his weblog; submitters, please strive to make your sources clear.
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A Video Projector That Fits In Your Pocket

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:23PM (#9600939)
    Or are you just happy to see me?
  • by anaphora (680342) * on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:23PM (#9600940) Journal
    Yes, but when will we be able to put them in robots?

    "Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, You're my only hope."
    • by Tlosk (761023) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:57PM (#9601107)
      You know the funny thing is I remember thinking to myself the first time I saw that why the holographic video was grainy, it seemed preposterous to me that they could have that sort of technology on R2D2 and yet have it be all grainy in appearance.

      And now it seems incredibly prescient lol, given the millionfold increase in processing speed using the noise variance method described in the article, the trade off between graininess and speed actually becomes quite rational.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Hey, I guess even a complete moron like George Lucas can appear intelligent on occasion.

        Of course, even a broken clock is right twice a day. I'll chalk this shit up to coincidence.
  • Hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    On a side note, inexpensive home projection theaters kick ass. Cost is about $400 for everything besides the projector. I don't know why anyone with a week of time would buy a plasma TV.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Only Druid (587299) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @02:07PM (#9601154)
      There are several reasons:

      1: Plasmas look perfect in bright light, allowing you to use them without blanketing the room in darkness.
      2: Plasmas are rated to last around a decade, give or take. Bulbs in projectors need to be replaced (after a comprarable amount of use) in about 1-2 years.
      3: Plasmas are almost without exception higher resolution and clarity than projectors.
      4: Plasmas are almost without exception better at displaying pure black and pure white, and thus at displaying all colors in between, than projectors.
      5: Plasms dont require an unobstructed path between the projector at the screen, i.e. they're easier to position in a potentially crowded room.

      There are more, but I'll leave it at that.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

        by HeelToe (615905)
        Yes, there are clearly tradeoffs. I took the projector approach and I couldn't be happier. Not quite movie-theater angular size, but closer than anything short of a movie theater. For 1/3 the price of a plasma 3/4 the size of the screen.

        It will be interesting to see how the new prototype Sony technology (the black screen thing) works out. It would be amazing to have a high quality projected image without needing great control of the ambient light.

        There are also people doing reverse projection setups u
      • What about burn-in? Plasma screens tend to be quite sensitive to static images being shown over a period, i.e., even logos.

        I believe projectors to be superior, but unless you really have a theatre to use them in, between ambient lighting, seating position and all of the rest of it, you will suffer.

      • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Informative)

        by dave420 (699308)
        I'll see those and raise you these:

        1. 160" plasmas are rather more expensive than a projector (which can give you that size, easily)
        2. You can't pick a plasma screen up in one hand and move it out on the veranda to watch movies outside
        3. Cheap plasma screens have horrific quality, as the built-in processing is limited
        4. Projectors cost 1/4 of the price of a plasma 5. Replacement bulbs for projectors cost about $100
        6. Sony's new projector screens mean perfect viewing in light environments

        I know where y

      • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Informative)

        by AaronLawrence (600990) *
        Higher resolution and clarity? Where do you get that from? A typicaly widescreen home theater projector such as Panasonic AE-500 is 1024x576. Plasmas are typically that or lower.

        Projectors are just as clear if not clearer. In fact they are sometimes TOO clear, ie. the square pixels become visible. So recent projectors soften it slightly to get back to a more natural looking projectors.

        But, all this is irrelevant for me. Projectors generally give 2-5x as large a screen at 1/2 to 1/4 the cost. That's a no b
      • plasmas rated to last ten years?
        brightness cuts in half in 2-3 years.
  • Watch for Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fastdecade (179638) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:27PM (#9600959)
    Apple will make this a standard component first, in the same way as they picked up on other trends and mainstreamed them, e.g. window-based UI, 17" screen, PDA.
    • Re:Watch for Apple (Score:3, Interesting)

      by euxneks (516538)
      Apple will make this a standard component first, in the same way as they picked up on other trends and mainstreamed them, e.g. window-based UI, 17" screen, PDA.

      Kinda strange though, that when I think of those three items I don't think of Apple....
      • 1. Window-based UI: popularized by Apple, invented by Xerox
        2. 17" screen: Probably referring to the Powerbook being the first 17" notebook.
        3. PDA: Newton.

    • Re:Watch for Apple (Score:2, Informative)

      by Ironclad2 (697456)
      Didn't the PDA become a market-standard device some after Apple *dropped* the Newton?
      • Re:Watch for Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fastdecade (179638)
        Yeah, they certainly made a mes of the Newton. I'm not saying they succeeded in everything they kicked off, I'm just saying they put their butts on the line and go all-out with upcoming technologies.

        In the case of Newton, they made it big news. There were PDAs before, mostly industrial, but Apple were making a big fanfare about being the first mainstream PDA.

        As it happened, all the publicity backfired big time.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        In Soviet England, Apple drops on Newton!
    • Re:Watch for Apple (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Apple is not "mainstream" .. the only thing they "mainstreamed" was the iPod.
      • Re:Watch for Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fastdecade (179638)
        Apple's not exactly mainstream, but it pushes technologies into the manistream. If I had a dollar for every "candy coloured" gadget that came out in the late nineties ...
  • by adzoox (615327) * on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:27PM (#9600962) Journal
    My question is:

    If the size of the lens makes a difference in CCDs in camcorders (moreso than digital cameras) - won't the small size also affect image quality from these devices?

    Also, will these devices be ANOTHER cost INCREASE? - because projectors (affordable units) are JUST now appearing on the market.
    • by the_2nd_coming (444906) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:30PM (#9600980) Homepage
      I guess you messed the HIGH QUALITY part of it.
    • by sploo22 (748838) <dwahlerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:34PM (#9601003)
      To the best of my knowledge, the loss of image quality with standard optical equipment occurs due to imperfections in the lens. With this method, there seems to be no actual refraction taking place - it all operates on wave interference. And I quote:

      "No lenses are required -- the projected image is formed entirely by diffraction," said Cable.

      Believe it or not, the cost is not likely to be that much higher, because there's no need for precision optics, just a tiny screen and a laser.
      • Actually, the cost is likely to be quite a lot lower than anything involving optics. Making lenses is hard work. Making lasers is easy. And from what they say in the article, I gather that the hardware for the image production bit is pretty easy to make too. What's complicated are the algorithms they use in the background.

        • Making a raster image using lasers isn't eactly easy. In the past, it required a mirror that swivels on two axis (axes?), quickly and accurately.

          I suspect there is a reason that it has taken this long. I've heard about the possibility a few years ago, but not this method.

          Now the only question is whether the laser colors conform to existing video standards or if they will look a little off, because how good it will look will depend on a reasonable level of color accuracy on the primaries.
          • No raster is involved in holography - you get the whole image at once. Of course, with generating the holo pattern that produces the interference you need to generate the 'pixels', but that won't involve the laser. As to colors, it's not that hard - tune the laser and the hologram to the right frequency.

            Thet said the big problem was generating the holo pattern quick enough - and this is where they say they outsmarted the previous methods. The rest of the problems are probably technical. Let's hope they wi
            • Well, they mention in the article that they're not even trying to get colours with a single projector. Instead, they're investiating using two in parallel for that. I'm not quite sure how two would work though - would it try to use interference to create colour or what? Wouldn't you need three projectors for colour schemes?

              • I would think they used 'in parallel' rather loosely. Depending on what tech they use for the holograms, it could be doable to have the outgoing beam angled from the incoming one (really easy if the holo is a volume one); then they can use, say 3 holos for RGB that would scatter light from 3 (R, G, B) lasers in the same direction to superimpose the images and get the color one.
      • The fact that it's easier to use won't make it cheaper. There's a novelty to it that will allow them to price it higher if they want. Just look at DVDs, which should be cheaper to produce VHS, for an example.
    • Read the article. The thing doesn't use a lens. It works by direct refraction of a laser through a hologram.

      However, I'll be interested in the quality anyway... The article goes on to say that coming up with the hologram in real-time is accomplished by minimizing noise variance, and not noise. My guess though is that initial units will be "good enough". After that, incremental improvement of the technology should bring the quality up to HDTV levels.

      P.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~
      • Actually in the aricle it's very confusing:

        "Key to the device's diminutive size is the lack of lenses and high-power light bulbs. Conventional digital video projectors form images by generating a small picture on a transparent microdisplay inside the projector, then shining a high-power light through the microdisplay to a large magnifying lens.

        In the researchers' design, a two-dimensional hologram is shown on the microdisplay rather than an image, and the projected image is formed by shining a laser beam
        • I don't know why a hologram is necessary for this, but if you shine light through a diffraction grating, and that light is coherent, you ought to be able to get an excellent idea of where it will end up. It sounds like they're going to be using the known qualities of gratings with several possible states to project their images. More power to them, even if I don't really understand it either. Projectors are the future! Well, and the present.
    • The quick answer is no.

      The reason is that Holograms *use* diffraction as a means of creating the image. Diffraction is the phenomenon where if a light wave passes through a hole that is approximately the size of its wave length, it gets 'garbled' - or diffracted into unrecognizalbe patterns.

      That's why you have a practical limit to the miniaturisation of lenses.

      But aside from that, you have optical artifacts that occur even with normal SLR lenses. And that is because lenses are not perfectly 'stygmatic

      • If lenses were stygmatic, then the concept of 'depth of field' would not exist: everything in the picture would always be in focus.

        Minor nitpick. Stigmatic--or more commonly anastigmatic--lenses don't have an infinite depth of field. Rather, an ideal anastigmatic lens properly focuses light all the way across the focal plane. Astigmatic lenses (lenses with astigmatism) will produce images that are blurry as you move further from the primary axis of the lens. That is, even if you focus your camera corr

  • by VinceWuzHere (733075) * on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:28PM (#9600966)
    What an addition this would be to remote meetings, instructing, etc. Just set your cellphone on the table and have a live demo in front of your eyes. Of course someone will likely use it for pr0n before any other "real" uses...
  • by justforaday (560408) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:31PM (#9600984)
    The Pocket Projector - the sign of a true dork.
  • by Zorilla (791636) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:32PM (#9600988)
    Great. This only increases the potential of being able to have PowerPoint presentations shoved down your throat, now anytime, anywhere.

    PHBs beware, do not approve a purchase of one of these projectors for use by Debbie from Sales.
  • Well.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arieswind (789699) * on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:33PM (#9600994) Homepage
    I dont see how putting projectors in phones will make them any more useful than they are, they will only make it more expensive.

    The Laptop projectors on the other hand, if they are built in, would eliminate the need for bulky projectors when a worker needs to give a presentation to his boss or co workers.. they could even make mini tv's use this technology, and project onto any free space of wall.
    • with some of the cellphones out these days... add a projector and you have a full-screen portable gaming platform
    • Re:Well.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by aero6dof (415422) <aero6dof@yahoo.com> on Saturday July 03, 2004 @02:12PM (#9601180) Homepage
      Go one step further and you might have a laptop with flip up lid that consists of little more that a reflective surface to shine the projector onto, flip the lid out of the way and have a presentation projector.
    • Just one or two generations of cellphones from now, you'll be using your camera and projector-equipped cellphone and you'll remember this comment and slap yourself repeatedly.
      • my cell phone does what it was meant to do, make phone calls, it has none of those addons, like games, cameras, text messaging, etc
        • Sooner or later they're all going to have those things. When image processing is so cheap that you can put a camera in a mouse to photograph the desktop and compute movement from a sequence of snapshots, it's kind of a foregone conclusion that everything that can have a camera in it soon will, and basically everything can have a camera in it.

          Once upon a time we were all waiting for all cameras to have dot matrix screens which greatly improves interfaces. Now the things are in color and have games and web

  • by Saeger (456549) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <jllerraf>> on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:34PM (#9601001) Homepage
    1. "Help me Obi Wan Kenobi!"
    2. "And you thought the punkass kids in the movie theatre with laser pointers were bad!"
    3. "Goatse.cx! Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children!"

    --

    • As much as you're being ironic, you've actually hit on a real point here.

      There are already a few cases involving people displaying porn on the headrest displays in their car (I dont have a link handy, but I could swear I saw one or more mentioned here at /.).

      How long after these are developed do you think it will be before someone is arrested for seruptitiously displaying pornography in public? What about if you flash it quickly so only oner person sees it, and stop before they realize who caused it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:35PM (#9601006)
    you know the first application of this will be "Help my Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" ringtones...
    • You reckon they kids with brand new mobile phones actually know about the furst Star Wars movies? They've got Jar Jar Binks ring tones fer Christ's sakes. *

      * I use that to make the point, I'm not entirely sure how you would make a Jar Jar Binks ring tone but it's too horrible to contemplate anyway;

  • Aren't normal projectors already as expensive as decent LCD monitors? This sounds too rich for my blood, or my children's blood, or my grandchildren's blood, ...
    • Projectors have high powered bulbs, precision optics, and a bunch of other very expensive components. This method works by scanning an individual laser and reflecting it to a surface. Thus the price shouldn't be too much higher than that of a stock laser pointer.
  • And i thought cell phones in the movie theater were bad enough already...
  • That the projected image is 2D is disappointing, but the fact that it doesn't require lenses or high power bulbs is an incredible feet.

    Imagine trying to use a PDA with built in projector using todays bulb technology, not only would the PDA be the size of a large book but it would cook your hand too. Don't set it down too hard or you'll break the filament in the bulb.

    The difference in power consumption between the laser and bulb is probably pretty similar. While the bulb only needs the power to glow and
  • Students (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mboverload (657893)
    This will be great for students and teachers. In my school teachers are always fussing over the projectors and when they get to use them. Because of this, many have given up on using them. With these new pocket proijectors teachers can take them home and use them where ever and when ever.

    I welcome our new pocket-sized projector overloards.

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:47PM (#9601057) Homepage
    What makes this so great? They still have to have a light source and enough power to drive it.

    The actual imaging component of a projector isn't that big. Look at the TI DLP chip. [dlp.com] Their projectors are already down to 2.2 pounds.

    Color is a problem. Currently, you need either a color wheel for field-sequential color or three imaging chips, which looks better. This new "holographic" display has the same problem. Note that their demo image is greyscale.

    What's really needed are powerful LED arrays as the light source. If you could change the light source color at a few KHz, which LEDs can easily do, a one-chip DLP projector without a color wheel would work. With an LED light source, you could do some other obvious power-saving tricks, too. You need no more light output than the brightest pixel in that color in that frame. With sectional lighting, maybe less.

    LEDs with enough light output for this are not far off. LEDs have taken over automotive taillights, and white LED automotive headlamps are expected in 2006. Toyota showed a car with LED headlamps in 2003.

    That direction is more likely to result in smaller projectors than this "holographic" thing.

    • This is so revolutionary because it has no optics. No lens, no mirrors, nothing. Plus because it uses a laser instead of a bulb, it will use less power, last longer and won't need a big fan to cool it.
    • by Viadd (173388) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @02:07PM (#9601156)
      For holography you want monochrome light, which means the light source will be lasers. Probably three diode lasers for R,G,B. Lasers are much more efficient than the incandescent bulbs used in projectors, which means that you will be able to put your PDA back in your pocket without second degree burns after using for a while.

      The home page of one of the coauthors of the cited paper is here [cam.ac.uk]. It shows a hologram that takes a few seconds to generate on a 2 GHz PC. Pretty low quality, and presumably specialized hardware (which could probably be implemented as an FPGA) will be required to get it to video rates. But for static text type presentations, for the Powerpoint warriors who are the main market for projectors, speed is less important.
    • Hmmm...

      *replaces LCD headlight in car with holographic projector projecting image of oncoming truck to the car ahead*
    • Uh, from the article, it looks like the light source is a frick'n laser, and it doesn't require a frick'n shark's head.

      I hate one chip DLPs. The rainbowing is ass until you get the 6x or better color wheels. The MMD chips are pretty small, but probably still too big for "pocket" projectors.
    • The lenses are a big problem. They are large, delicate, and expensive. This projector uses no lenses. Powerful LEDs would help too, but that technology is orthogonal to this technology. Both can help reduce projector size, weight, cost, and power usage.
  • Great (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    since the device is being developed at Cambridge University maybe the owners manual and instructions will be written like this:

    Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
  • I can imagine these things pointed at movie screens by bored teens. Or spot advertisements aimed at all sorts of surfaces-- building walls, bald peoples heads. How long before someone aims a multi-megawatt laser projector at the moon to sell us coke c2?
  • I think I speak for the majority of sane-minded people when I say this:

    Seriously? In cellphones? WTF?
  • And (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Spackler (223562)
    Is that a video projecter in your pocket, or are you just glad to read slashdot?
  • by Anonymous Writer (746272) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @01:57PM (#9601109)

    The images were the same but contained different levels of noise. The researchers found that variation in noise levels affected people's perception of video quality more than the actual level of the noise.

    I'm not familiar with holography, but doesn't the presence of noise mean that individual pixels won't be very clear? I suppose that would be okay for video, but what about using the projection as a computer display? Would it be good enough for text and fonts?

  • Imagine the impact this will have on the porn industry........
  • The power (Score:3, Funny)

    by mao che minh (611166) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @02:02PM (#9601134) Journal
    "These pocket projectors will have no lenses and no light bulbs. Instead, these future battery-powered tiny projectors will rely on the in-born, raw nerd power of the geek that wears it."
  • errr.. batteries? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 03, 2004 @02:03PM (#9601138)
    "Hey guys, check out this hologram I just got! Just give me a second for me to plug my wireless phone into an electrical socket, so that my batteries don't get completely drained in 15 seconds."

    Kind of defeats the purpose, huh? Already when I start using my video camera is limits my cell phone usage. Imagine the energy requirements for a hologram projector.

    Let's forget about putting all this stuff in cell phones... let's concentrate on actually getting this in a real projector of some sort before we start making high-faluting promises of having everything in our freaking cell phones.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Rather than attach a sixteen-ounce LCD panel to a laptop, you can as-well attach an unfolding cotton-clothe dome and project the image on its surface.

    Low power, lighter, and when you need to wash the "screen" you just throw it in the laundry and thereafter dry and remove the lint.

    And those of us that like to browse slashdot with *ahhem* one hand on their joystick and one hand on their *uhm* mouse, you won't regreat losing controll onto your monitor.
  • by ManyLostPackets (646646) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @02:05PM (#9601147)
    Help us Sony, Pioneer or Fujitsu!

    Focus group's of American electronic companys say no one is interested in such things!

    Help us Sony, Pioneer or Fujitsu! You're our only hope!
  • by gokeln (601584) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @02:07PM (#9601157)
    Primary author's homepage here http://www2.eng.cam.ac.uk/~eb296/research.shtml The algorithm appears only to be available in the Journal of the Optical Society of America. Membership required to access.
  • by rpiquepa (644694) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @02:08PM (#9601162) Homepage
    Check this page ( http://radio.weblogs.com/0105910/2004/07/03.html ) or this RSS feed ( http://radio.weblogs.com/0105910/rss.xml ) to see what plagiarism is -- the exact words on my RSS feed. You also can check hours of publication. I'm not happy with this. Last month, someone opened a Slashdot account with my name. Now, "Sven-Erik" is publishing my own words, already submitted to Slashdot, and he's credited for this. Slashdot editors, please be careful! And "Sven-Erik," please indicate your sources!!!
  • just the next step (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cybergrunt69 (730228)
    This looks like it's going to be a great new product. While I'll probably never have a cell phone with one of these built into it, I can see it as the next logical step to be included in the standard PDA and notebook. For all we know now, that little laser pointer will have one too... So I wonder what it would take to get one of these items just by itself so I can hook it up as a monitor for my computers? Will it take the place of my clunky heavy TV, too? I'm very interested to see where this is going!
  • by sane? (179855) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @02:16PM (#9601195)
    Maybe I'm missing something, but surely you would store the holographic image data (eg the thing that drives the 2D microdisplay), rather than attempting to convert on the fly.

    Therefore what you need, past the circuitry, is a good compression algorithm for the holographic data. This is unlikely to follow the precepts of the JPEG/MPEG compression (more oppotunity for patents methinks). Together with the display technology you then have a viable system.

    Interesting technology, maybe, but not a complete solution yet.

  • ? 2-D hologram ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by James Turpin (789479)
    What is a 2-D hologram?? I thought holograms were inherently 3-D, although they may sometimes be images of impossible objects.
    • When two beams of light merge, they interact with each other and create a pattern of light and dark regions called an interference pattern. A hologram is basically just a photograph of an interference pattern. It is a two dimensional (incredibly complex) pattern of light and dark areas on the film. The magic of holograms lies in the fact that the interference pattern captured on film can act as a lens. When you shine one of the original beams of light (the reference beam) through a hologram you get a rep
  • While I think this will have some applications, this is definitely not the solution to the display problem plaguing small devices with even smaller screens, like cellphones.

    I believe the real solution will be when they can display that screen hovering in the air wherever you want.

    You see, the problem is that people don't want to have to worry about projecting something onto somewhere, they want to just have the screen in front of them, and a holographic screen that hovers where they want would do the trick.

  • by drooling-dog (189103) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @02:50PM (#9601354)
    special algorithms

    The answer to this and most of life's other thorny problems, I expect...

  • Maybe it would be possibe for a computer to use both this and one of those projected keyboards [alpern.org] you could have a tiny useful device.
  • This has the potential for being extremely annoying.
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been in a movie theatre with the annoying jerk and the laser pointer.
  • I hate to say it, but this algorithm is exactly the kind of thing that should be patentable. It's innovative (as far as I know; I'm not an optics guy) and I think it's reasonable to say that the inventors deserve a temporary monopoly so that they can profit from their invention. Unfortunately, in this case that means a software patent.

    I'm pretty strongly against software being patentable (as most /.ers seem to be), but it's still worth noting that in some cases it might be reasonable.

  • by cr0sh (43134) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @01:06AM (#9604289) Homepage
    ...or is it a reconfigurable diffraction grating?

    Or maybe - are diffraction gratings a form of a hologram?

    What I am trying to get at, is that they appear to have used a microdisplay to generate a diffraction grating pattern that generates the resultant image - similar to how the el-cheapo laser pointer keychain devices use small diffraction gratings to "project" words and drawings on walls.

    Is there more to this? Am I missing something? Whatever the case, it looks like very interesting and promising technology...

  • Lots can happen in 5 years, but at present the image quality is not great and it's grey-levels only, right now a current PC takes 2 seconds per image to render the correct hologram. At Moore doubling speed it will take more than five years until little embedded processors in cell phones can render @30fps.

    Unless a large amount of money gets dumped on this idea look for it in 10 years' time or thereabouts.
    • Don't forget that this is a highly parallelizable task, and can be accomplished by parallel cores. Current GPUs have several times the power of your regular Xeon or AMD64, when it comes to just doing simple parallel math calculation.
      In less than 5 years, and even if Moore's law applies to kinda-RISC processors, they can accomplish 60x P4 speeds at making specialized calculations. Cost would be an issue, but probably, not even power consumption will be. Anyway, it's a drawback, but not a major drawback, to r

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