Patents News

Sony licenses MicroVision's LBS tech, will release a pico-projector enabled device soon?

Microvision new logoMicrovision announced that Sony licensed its PicoP LBS pico-projector technology. Sony will pay $8 million in an up-front license fee and will also pay royalties for display modules sold by Sony. This new agreement hopefully signals that Sony is close to release a mass-market product with a built-in laser pico projector.

Microvision has been working with Sony since April 2013. Sony unveiled a PicoP enabled display module in February 2014, and also bought components from Micrvision for several million dollars (as part of the new agreement, Sony will continue to buy components from Microvision).

Google wants to add a laser pico-projector to the project glass HMD?

Google has submitted a new patent application (#20130016070) that describes an addition to the Project Glass HMD - a small laser pico projector that can be used to display a QWERTY keyboard or other UI objects. The built-in camera will be used to recognize finger movements and commands of course.

Google project-glass pico projector patent image

This kind of UI is not really new, we've seen concepts showing such devices back in 2010. But still Google may get the patent as it specifically relates to HMD glasses...

Compound Photonics sues Syndiant over 4 patents

Syndiant logoCompound Photonics filed a lawsuit against Syndiant claiming it used 4 of its patents regarding microdisplays used in projection devices without authorization. The patents in dispute are:

#5,963,289 (Asymmetrical Scribe and Separation Method of Manufacturing Liquid Crystal Devices on Silicon Wafers) teaches an improved method of manufacturing LCoS devices, in which the scribing and separating process involve asymmetric or offset scribing to reduce the amount of non-functional area of a silicon substrate.

Microsoft also patents a shared-workspace using pico projector

A couple of weeks ago we reported that Apple filed a patent for a projected shared-workspace environment. The idea is to create a unified projected image from several pico projectors. Today we learn that Microsoft also filed a very similar patent (titled "Combined Surface User Interface") - on February 3rd, 2011 - just one week before Apple...

Microsoft Combined Surface User Interface patent sketch

via Engadget

Apple patents a projected shared-workspace patent

Update: it turns out that Microsoft also filed a similar patent - just one week before Apple...

Apple files a new patent describing a shared-workspace environment that uses several devices with touch (camera) enabled pico-projectors. The idea is that you can project using your phone and your laptop (for example) together on the same surface - to create a unified display:

Apple shared workspace patent

Apple has filed several pico projector related patents in the past few years (see here, here and here for example). It also registered the ApplePico domain a few days ago - sparking speculation that a pico projector accessory is on its way...

Microvision annual shareholders meeting highlights

Microvision new logoMicrovision hosted their annual shareholder meeting last week, and now they posted a presentation from that event. The company says that they are optimistic going forward - direct green lasers will improve performance and cut price, the mobile device ecosystem is booming (new tablets, WP7, Android, etc.), their IP portfolio is getting stronger (especially with the new Motorola patents).

One interesting bit of news is that the PicoP engine is 'reversible' - it can be used to display information and capture information - basically it can become a touch projector (like LBO's solution). This is the first time I see this mentioned and hopefully we'll hear more soon on how they propose to achieve that.

Nikon filed a patent for using a DSLR viewfinder as pico-projector optics

Nikon filed an interesting patent that describes how a DSLR's viewfinder can be used as the pico-projector optics. It's great to see Nikon researching pico-projectors. The company has already released two projector cameras: the Coolpix S1000pj and the new S1100pj (which uses a VGA LCoS pico-projector and is available now for $349).

Nikon projector via DSLR viewfinder patent drawing

Here's the original paragraph from Nikon's patent application: “When the photographing instrument is set as electronic view finder mode, the photography person can see the taken image displayed on a liquid crystal display panel by looking into a liquid crystal display panel from an eyepiece. On the other hand, when the photographing instrument is set as projector mode, the light which supported reproduced image information is projected on the screen of the photographing instrument exterior via the eyepiece of an electronic view finder, and two or more persons can see the reproduced image simultaneously projected on a screen.”

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