Firms bring projector mobiles closer to reality

update Singapore semiconductor turnkey provider and Israeli chipset maker gear to debut projection technology on phones and laptops, to aid presentations on the move.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

update An Israeli-Singapore collaboration is working to bring to market projector technology for mobile devices such as phones, PDAs and laptops.

Led by Israeli Maradin Technologies and Singapore-based Lynxemi, the project is one of six funded by the Singapore-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation (SIIRD). The foundation is a collaboration between Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) in Israel to promote and support joint R&D initiatives between companies from the two countries.

Maradin Technologies is currently developing a miniature projection chip, while Lynxemi will provide 3D packaging expertise that aims to minimize energy consumption, according to a statement released Monday by the SIIRD. With the in-device portable projection technology, working professionals will be able to conduct business presentations on the move without the need for a separate projector, it said.

The concept of projector technology embedded into mobile devices is not new. In July, Micron demonstrated its microdisplay technology for smartphones to ZDNet Asia's sister site CNET News.

In an e-mail interview however, Maradin CEO Matan Naftali told ZDNet Asia that unlike Micron, which uses liquid crystal on silicon technology, Maradin is tapping a "new paradigm utilizing scanning" in order to create an image. "This new technology enables to reduce size of devices along with substantial power saving thus is perfectly suitable for mobile devices," he explained.

The production launch of the component is expected at the end of the third quarter in 2010, he said. The companies target to present engineering samples to potential customers for testing and evaluation around April.

Several manufacturers of products ranging from handsets to semiconductors have indicated their interest in the technology, Naftali added, noting that there are "billions" of potential hosting devices. "They all showed interest in the basic device of a SVGA (super video graphics array) projection chipset."

According to him, the project cost sponsored by the SIIRD is about US$1.3 million, which will fund the development of a "state-of-the art assembly and packaging solution for our product, to enable a substantial cost and size reduction" over current products.

Other projects funded by the SIIRD include a mobile phone "jacket", that allows consumers to change the appearance of their handsets and easily add different features and functionalities; an 802.11n Wide Frequency Mini PCI Radio Module, that helps users utilize unoccupied frequency bands; a plug-in for the Autodesk Inventor platform to ease the electrode design and machining process for computer numerical-controlled (CNC) machines and software that allows for more efficient tracking and workflow, particularly for businesses with multiple office locations or require audit trail.

The SIIRD expects the six joint-venture projects to involve 81 research scientists and engineers from Israel and Singapore, as well as generate cumulative revenues of US$1.1 billion in the first three years of commercialization.

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