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Grab the Tweezers

Hallo hoppy reader,

This installment of the Bitstream is all about tiny…I’ve got two, two, woops, three tiny gadgets in one tiny blog. Specifically, pico projectors and gigabigga disk drives. Read on…

Back in January, I mentioned a demo of a new pico projector that was in development. I’d read about technology demonstrations of such thing but it was the first productized version I’d seen. Now, pico projectors are coming out of the woodwork…OK, not so much but a company in the UK, Light Blue Optics, is putting the finishing touches on what is, I think, a novel combination of good ol’ LCOS, as used in home entertainment displays, with a laser light engine. The really interesting aspect of their IP is the use of interferometry rather than run of the mill additive-raster-by-occlusion, the way an LCD +  laser engine combo works. According to their site, their “novel approach to miniature projection has a range of differentiating features and benefits…A diffraction pattern of the desired 2D image, calculated using LBO’s patented holographic algorithms, is displayed on a custom-designed phase-modulating Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS) microdisplay. When illuminated by coherent laser light, the desired 2D image is projected.” So, they have some rather interesting ’ware doing realtime transforms from a standard WVGA raster input into an equivalent diffraction pattern, along with an interesting optical path…Is a reference beam needed? If I have a moment, I’ll ask them.

LBO Diagram

Look, yet another visitation of the Kodak Girl!


The whole enchilada can be shoehorned into a very small form factor. They’re saying that their, “…technology roadmap is consistent with the production of light engines as small as 5cc – smaller than a sugar cube.” Fascinating, Captain. They also claim, low cost, high efficiency and good speckle reduction, the downfall of all laser sources if the surface on which you’re projecting is rough. I can think of some adaptive techniques that would allow them to compensate in the transform process to reduce speckle but, the proof will be in the viewing. Expect to see the LBO engine as a value–add in future phone, multitainment and portable computing products, as well as the source for an increasingly common vehicular feature, heads–up displays.

Having escaped from the lab, AAXA Technologies has a pico product that’s actually for sale. An iPod–sized VGA projector, the P1 has 1 GB of memory plus a built–in microSD reader. With a wimpy 12 lumen LED light source as its major shortcoming, this sub–$300 puppy ain’t gonna do double duty in your home theater any time soon…

AAXA Tech P1

AAXA Technologies’ P1 pico projector


OK, last pico thingy of the day…This one’s pico in form factor but, cue the reverb, mighty in capacity. Western Digital’s WD Scorpio Blue packs a prodigious passel of domains into a 2.5″ form factor. Woot!


Western Digital’s WD Scorpio Blue hard drive

Western Digital’s WD Scorpio Blue hard drive



Speeds & feeds:

  • 1 TB raw capacity
  • 3 Gb/s SATA attach
  • 8 MB cache
  • 5200 RPM (this is designed for mobile applications, after all)

Analyst Parm Mann of wrote that he wonders about the practicality of the new drive. “…The drive itself measures 12.5mm in height due to its capacity, and finds itself too thick for the majority of existing notebooks—many of which use the traditional 69.85mm x 100mm x 9.5mm form factor.” I, for one, wonder if it will find a welcome home in RAID products designed for the reduced HVAC, power and space requirements of 2.5″ mechanisms. Let’s hope so as most of my content creator clients are constrained in at least two of those three areas. Unfortunately, it’s not yet available as a raw mechanism, only inside an external USB product.

That’s enough Kodak Grrrl for one sitting so, I’m outta here. Until next, geek on!


3 Responses to “Grab the Tweezers”

  1. OMas here…This just in:

    Everyone trying to get into the pico–projector act. Old skool display manufacturer Viewsonic announced their PJD2121, a “…short throw DLP pico projector…At a mere 2.2 pounds, the PJD2121 is an advanced ultra-portable DLP projector.” Hardly what I’d call pico but, it is a full on DLP projector. Maybe their marcom firm could have picked a more appropriate adjective?

  2. Hey all, this just in…

    Microvision just announced the introduction of the world’s first laser-based pico projector, based on its proprietary PicoP® display engine technology…See:

    In other news, quality storage vendor OWC has started offering the first 3rd party external 2.5″ 1 TB triple interface drive…See:


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