Light Blue Optics (LBO), the Cambridge, UK-based developer of miniature projection systems, is to develop a range of display products with aerospace and defense company Thales.
Under the agreement, LBO will provide Thales with engineering samples of its miniature projection system in a collaboration that will result in the production of advanced displays that meet the requirements of cockpit applications.
LBO’s holographic laser projection technology creates large, full colour, high-quality images that remain in focus at all distances. The term “holographic” refers not to the projected image, but to the method of projection. A diffraction pattern of the desired 2D image, calculated using LBO’s patented holographic algorithms, is displayed on a phase-modulating Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS) microdisplay. When illuminated by coherent laser light, the desired image is projected.
Rather than blocking light, the phase-modulating LCOS microdisplay steers the light to exactly where it is needed, making the system highly efficient. Unlike conventional projection systems, LBO’s technology does not require a projection lens. Instead, a demagnification lens pair expands the diffracted image from the microdisplay, producing an ultra-wide throw angle greater than 90º. The projected images are in focus at all distances from the projector, eliminating the need for a focus control.
The diffractive method of projection naturally lends itself to miniaturisation and low cost implementation. It allows images to be projected onto curved and angled surfaces without distortion, and is highly tolerant to microdisplay pixel failure – essential in safety critical applications in markets such as automotive.
‘At Thales, we have identified a range of early revenue opportunities for LBO’s technology and look forward to delivering these advances in display technology to customers in the near term,’ said Bruno Vazzoler, Thales’ Vice President General Manager of Cockpit Interactive Solutions.