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Ultra-tiny Lenses Make Pico Projector Smartphones Possible

August 4, 2011

Fancy watching a YouTube flick projected on the wall from your Android phone or tablet? The ultra-small glass lenses developed by a Japanese company just may be the solution to turn that into reality. The lenses can make inbuilt pico projectors on Android phones and tablets a big possibility.

Alps Electric, which manufactures electronic components, announced last week its FLGS3 Series of aspherical glass lenses for optical communication. According to the company, an FLGS3 lens has 73% light transmission efficiency and can work with wide-angle laser diodes. These make the FLGS3 lens a very good candidate for use in Android projector smartphones or tablets.

Aspherical glass lenses are chiefly used for optical communication (such as in transceiver modules for underwater cables and base stations) since they transmit optical data through optical fibers with very minimal loss of optical signal. Because of better light transmission efficiency (optical coupling efficiency), aspherical glass lenses allow for reduced light loss and reduced input needed for producing a certain level of brightness in the output. These also translate to less power consumed and less heat generated.

In this regard, Alps Electric’s new FLGS3 lens is also suitable for use on handheld projectors, especially with its very light weight and incredibly small size–1 square millimeter surface, with 0.8 mm thickness–just about the size of the lead tip on a mechanical pencil. Alps Electric claims that the FLGS3 is the smallest lens in the industry and expects its new FLGS3 lenses to make their way into the consumer market.

The company says production has already started last month and monthly production volume is expected to reach 100,000 units by December, 2012.

Aspherical glass lens technology such as the FLGS3 makes it possible to embed a projector system right into an Android smartphone or tablet. Although we are not engineers at all, we consider that to be a real possibility. Or, at the very least, the technology can be used on smaller (and, therefore, more portable) pico projectors that can be hooked up to the smartphone or tablet via a cable.

For now, we’re stuck with external standalone pico projectors, but it will only be a matter of time before tiny lenses such as the FLGS3 can find their way into a pico projector built right into an Android smartphone or tablet. When that time comes, your pico projector-enabled Android device will be able to display videos and photos on practically any surface that can act as a projection screen, and your friends/family won’t have to huddle around the tiny display on your device anymore. You’ll be able to create your slideshow presentations on your smartphone or tablet (yes, there are apps for that) and use the same device for showing your presentation.

Now, isn’t that one awesome functionality added to your Android device? Are you ready for such Android devices with built-in pico projectors?

Image credit: Alps Electric, Tech-On!,