BOTHELL, Wash., April 4 -- Microvision said it has demonstrated for the first time an "ultralow-power" technique for scanning a beam of light to enable high-resolution electronic displays and imaging systems.
The demonstration system makes use of a small chip that vibrates a tiny silicon micromirror on a two-axis hinge system, like one used by the company in its existing products. The new demonstration makes use of a technique to actuate the hinged assembly that requires as little as 100 microwatts (1 microwatt equals 1/millionth of a watt) and will potentially enable a dramatically smaller package than its current scanners. Microvision said the simplified drive system could also substantially lower costs.
With its existing systems, Microvision's scanning displays form an image by rapidly scanning a beam of light into a series of horizontal lines -- each line containing hundreds of individual pixels -- to build up an image in much the same way as a television tube or CRT computer monitor. This technique, called raster scanning, is commonly found in televisions and computer monitors that employ scanned electron beams, but according to Microvision, it is not the most efficient way to draw an image with a system that employs mechanical scanners.