Short-Throw Projection Technology That’s Perfect for Head-Up Displays

February 13, 2014

4:00 pm

At this year’s International CES, China-based QP Optoelectronics Co. Ltd demoed its short-throw pico projection technology. These pico/pocket projectors began showing up in late-2008/early-2009 and have rapidly become important alternatives in an industry traditionally dominated by large projection devices. While pico projectors can certainly be used in the classical sense (projecting videos and presentations and whatnot onto a surface), QP Optoelectronics hopes to capitalize the increasing integration of head-up displays (HUDs).

QP Optoelectronics is focused on creating short-throw projection technology. In this industry, a smaller throw ratio indicates that a pico project is able to produce equally large images from a much shorter distance. Currently, the average throw ratio for pico projectors is between 1.4 to 2.2; however, QP Optoelectronics has managed to build a compact lens design that can create a 50-inch screen projection at a mere arm’s length distance away (with a throw 0.37-.5 throw ratio).

“In the future, we’ll increasingly see LCD displays being replaced by head-up displays. We’re seeing this particularly in the automotive and aircraft industr[ies],” says James Lupino, VP of Business Development.

This much shorter throw distance is obviously a huge advantage for the company, particularly when they want to establish themselves in providing high-quality HUDs. Right now, they’ve set their target on the the automotive and aircraft industries, where HUDs increase the capacity of data that drivers and pilots are able to see, as well as affords them with greater concentration on what’s directly in front of them (e.g. the road, instead of having to look down at the dashboard). While car manufacturers began offering vehicles with HUDs back in late-2012, it’s still very much in its infancy.

The company presented this technology at CES using their CloudView device. But while the pico projector can surely compete in the current pico project market, Lupino asserted that the company really isn’t focused on the consumer market. Rather, they are focused on working with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to adopt their project technology and build them for HUDs.

Aside from HUDs, the company bas begun looking to embed their short-throw projection technology in things like laptops and mobile phones (mobile projection) as well as looking at technologies like Google Glass.


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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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