Digital Light Processing is used in EnvisionTEC's Perfactory 3D printers ("Personal Factory"). The DLP-based 3D printer projects volumetric pixels into a photosensitive liquid resin, which is then cured into a solid substance. By leveraging DLP's high-resolution capabilities and light-source agnostic properties to photo-cure resins, EnvisionTEC's 3D printer is said to be ideal for reproducing jewelry, dental/earpiece molds, and toys.
One of the off shoots of this technology is in the digital imaging sector for photographic prints. In the late 90's A Swiss based company [Gretag Imaging] used DLP technology for the high speed digital printing systems. The DLP technology was fundamental in bringing about a revolution in consumer imaging providing for continuous printing, previously images were snapped one by one onto paper, laser and DLP technology changed that; with DLP making the most dramatic revolution in speed and reliability, the performance of these little chips is absolutely astounding. I often teased people that the Mario was constantly running around inside cleaning off the million mirrors and oiling the hinges.
I've got the fifty-something (52?) inch Samsung TVs lit by the LED DLP light engine and it has been spectacular for many years. I often have people comment on the picture, asking me what kind of LCD TV it is, as it is "built in" with wooden paneling surrounding it. My goal is to see how long I can make this TV last, as I think it was way ahead of its time.
I also have a 150" screen that drops down in front of it so I can project TV from my DLP projector. :)
At one point my one of my fellow engineers and I delved into using a DLP as the heart of an N x M optical switch as well as combining it with an AWG to make an ersatz Optical Spectrum Analyzer. The first didn't work out so well due to problems with some of the optics (not the fault of the DLP), but the second application worked out well and we took it to its logical conclusion - a DWDM channel monitor. We have since gone beyond that original model and are using a MEMS tunable filter to acheive the same result.
Thanks. This story was a long time in making. Just like Rick, I used to think whatever happened to those DLP projectors everyone was supposed to have at home by now.
But then, last year, when I was interviewing TI on HUD (for automotive), I was made aware that DLP has morphed into an enabling technology in so many diffferent segments of the industrial market.
My hats are off to engineer hackers, who have ripped apart DLA and figured out what they can used it for. And more to the point, kudos to TI which was flexible enough to open up the technology, make it easy for hackers to build their own products.
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