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Epson unveils LED-based projector

14 Sep 2005

A tiny prototype projector that uses LEDs as a source of illumination goes on show.

Epson has unveiled a prototype postcard-sized mini projector using an LED light source. With dimensions of just 13.8 x 10.3 cm, the Japanese electronics giant says this is the first time that an LED has been used in tandem with its popular 3LCD projector technology.

A projector based on Epson's 3LCD technology typically uses dichroic mirrors to split white light from a standard projector lamp into red, green and blue. Each of these components are then passed through an LCD panel, recombined by a prism and then projected onto a screen.

"The prototype uses six LEDs: two each for red, green and blue, so it can project color images," Alastair Bourne of Epson told Optics.org.

As well as allowing a compact design, Epson says the LEDs offer several advantages over conventional projection lamps including rapid turn-on and turn-off and a long lifetime.

The prototype made its debut at the IFA consumer electronics trade show which was held in Berlin, Germany at the start of the month. "The device can project real-time images as well as still images," said Bourne. "At the IFA show it was hooked up to a DVD player."

According to Bourne, the prototype runs off a standard power supply and comes with a USB interface.

Although the company has no immediate plans to market the mini-projector, Epson believes that its prototype demonstrates just how compact mobile 3LCD projectors could one day become. "This projector would be most suited for personal use in a relatively small space," Bourne told Optics.org. "It would be most effective within a range of 50 to 150 centimeters."

"Projectors using 3LCD technology already have advantages in terms of bright, natural image that are easy on the eyes," said Koichi Kubota, Epson's general manager of projector marketing. "This development is yet another example showing the potential of Epson projectors and Epson projector technology."

Jacqueline Hewett is technology editor on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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