OMG: Hi-def TV from a cell phone

OMG: Hi-def TV from a cell phone


Combining two more modern technologies, a group of scientists at Cornell University say that they can get a cell phone to show high-definition TV.

The process delves into the world of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and involves lasers and carbon fibers and silicon mirrors and all manner of other tiny yet complicated things.

A microscopic silicon mirror (shown in the photo by Michael Thompson of Cornell) that is suspended by carbon fibers vibrates very quickly and makes a laser sweep from side to side, creating an array of light and dark pixels that can be put together to create a high-definition image.

This process differs from current MEMS-based displays in the speed of the fibers’ vibration and the wide angle sweep of the lasers. Current chips that use such technologies operate more slowly and have less of a horizontal presence.

The Cornell folks say that they have observed mirror vibrations at up to 35,000 cycles a second, with the result being an image scan of 1280×768 taking place 60 times a second. Those numbers are right in line with what is currently observed in “traditional” hi-def TV displays.

The scientists say that they envision creating a projector about the size of a dime that could cast an image more than a meter wide on a surface up to half a meter away. A prototype is expected in the next year.

Where does the cell phone come in, you ask? Well, that’s a little farther down the road. The dime-size device can eventually be installed in a portable electronic device like a mobile phone.