Phone or iPod Run New Pocket-size Projector
Phone accessory powered by Explay's nano-projector engine.
Credit: Business Wire

The Explay nano-projector engine, a matchbook-sized projector, has been successfully tested. Science fiction Grandmaster Jack Vance would be pleased.

The display is under development by Kopin Corporation in cooperation with ExPlay. Kopin provides microdisplays for military and industrial buyers; ExPlay specializes in the consumer market. Dr. Bor-Yeu Tsaur, Kopins executive VP for display operations explains:

"A key requirement for a nano-projector is high brightness at low power consumption. We have engineered the display pixel technology to increase the effective optical aperture and transmission, which significantly increases optical efficiency. We believe our proprietary compact, highly transmissive microdisplay combined with a unique optical engine technology from Explay should enable an ultra-compact nano-projector."
(Explay Matchbox-Size Nano-Projector Engine for Mobile Applications)

In addition to its small size, the ExPlay nano-projector is always focused, using its laser-based diffractive diffractive optical technology. The projected image can be as small as 7 inches diagonally, or as large as 35 inches. The displays are in full color.

Science fiction writers have been specifying this device for more than a generation. In his 1971 novel The Anome, Jack Vance wrote about a mysterious Earthman (Ifness) who used a remarkable display device.

Ifness drew from his pocket a tube of dull black metal an inch in diameter, four inches long. Along the flattened top a number of knobs caught the light and glittered in Ifness' hand. He made an adjustment, pointed the tube at the wall beside Etzwane, and projected a cone of light.

Etzwane had never seen a photograph so detailed. He glimpsed several views of the Corporation Plaza, then Ifness made new adjustments, sending a thousand images flickering against the wall.
(Read more about Jack Vance's pocket display projector)

I love this small ExPlay projector: when can I have one for my camera (to show pictures immediately), for my daughter's iPod (that's one tiny screen—if I paid for the video content with allowance money, I should get to see it, right?) and for other stuff I haven't even thought of yet. No word yet on when this prototype device will be available for the consumer market.

For other science-fictional display technologies that are now real, take a look at the Heliodisplay midair projector and the True 3D Plasma dispay (with real plasma!). Thanks to Dom for sending the tip for this item along with a quote and citation. Read a bit more about this device at ExPlay.

(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)