The Worlds Smallest Projector

By Lance Ulanoff  |  Posted 2007-01-08 Print this article Print

The PicoP will fit inside your phone and shoot a 50-inch image on the wall. (

Video on your mobile phone and mp3 player is the latest thing; in fact full-length movie downloads from the likes of iTunes are almost common place. Too bad you have to watch all of them on that itty bitty screen. The worlds smallest projector technology could change all that.

Microvision has invented PicoP, a laser-based projector that could someday in the not-too-distant future be placed inside portable cell phones, MP3 players, and other handheld devices. Thats because the actual projector will be no larger than an Andes thin mint. The company unveiled a working prototype last night at Pepcom Digital Experience, a CES 2007 pre-show event that actually has no official affiliation with CES.

Using three tiny lasers (RGB colors), a combiner (to bring together the laser colors into a unified color pixel), and a tiny one-millimeter mirror, PicoP can project up-to-a 50-inch image in darkened room.

Images are not high-def, but they do appear in a sharp 800x 600 SVGA image at a 60 HZ refresh rate—thats because the combiner is shooting the combined pixels onto the mirror line-by-line. PicoP uses neither a projection bulb nor a focusing lens to produce the image. In fact, it conserves energy by only turning on the lasers when it needs them. So for an all green image, PicoP will turn off the Red and Blue lasers. This all happens in a fraction of a second. Microvision representatives said the technology inside is remarkable simply and actually resembles a DVD players pickup head.

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Lance Ulanoff is Editor in Chief and VP of Content for PC Magazine Network, and brings with him over 20 years journalism experience, the last 16 of which he has spent in the computer technology publishing industry.

He began his career as a weekly newspaper reporter before joining a national trade publication, traveling the country covering product distribution and data processing issues. In 1991 he joined PC Magazine where he spent five years writing and managing feature stories and reviews, covering a wide range of topics, including books and diverse technologies such as graphics hardware and software, office applications, operating systems and, tech news. He left as a senior associate editor in 1996 to enter the online arena as online editor at HomePC magazine, a popular consumer computing publication. While there, Ulanoff launched, and and wrote about Web sites and Web-site building.

In 1998 he joined Windows Magazine as the senior editor for online, spearheading the popular magazine's Web site, which drew some 6 million page views per month. He also wrote numerous product reviews and features covering all aspects of the computing world. During his tenure, won the Computer Press Association's prestigious runner-up prize for Best Overall Website.

In August 1999, Ulanoff briefly left publishing to join as producer for the Computing and Consumer Electronics channels and then was promoted to the site's senior director for content. He returned to PC Magazine in November 2000 and relaunched in July 2001. The new was named runner-up for Best Web Sites at the American Business Media's Annual Neal Awards in March 2002 and won a Best Web Site Award from the ASBPE in 2004. Under his direction, regularly generated more than 25 million page views a month and reached nearly 5 million monthly unique visitors in 2005.

For the last year and a half, Ulanoff has served as Editor, Reviews, PC Magazine. In that role he has overseen all product and review coverage for PC Magazine and, as well as managed PC Labs. He also writes a popular weekly technology column for and his column also appears in PC Magazine.

Recognized as an expert in the technology arena, Lance makes frequent appearances on local, national and international news programs including New York's Eyewitness News, NewsChannel 4, CNN, CNN HN, CNBC, MSNBC, Good Morning America Weekend Edition, and BBC, as well as being a regular guest on FoxNews' Studio B with Shepard Smith. He has also offered commentary on National Public Radio and been interviewed by radio stations around the country. Lance has been an invited guest speaker at numerous technology conferences including Digital Life, RoboBusiness, RoboNexus, Business Foresight and Digital Media Wire's Games and Mobile Forum.

Lance also serves as co-host of PC Magazine's weekly podcast, PCMag Radio.


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