Fraunhofer student shrinks projectors

Projectors are set to get even smaller thanks to groundbreaking technology developed by a German student. Marcel Sieler, studying at a Fraunhofer Institute, claims to have developed the base for a completely new projector design that could resize even the smallest models. Sieler scooped the 1st Hugo Geiger Prize for his work that could have a lasting impact on the AV market.

In his thesis project, ‘Design and realisation of an ultraslim array projector,’ Sieler of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena developed the bases for an entirely new kind of design in order to realise mini-projectors that boast sharp contrasts and clear colours.

In all current systems of pocket projectors, a single imaging channel is used. Therefore, a minimal size for the projector is a given that cannot be made smaller. However, Sieler claims his design allows for smaller models. The construction method relies on a number of regularly ordered micro-lenses – an array – as the projection lens. Thanks to the many channels, the construction length of the entire system can be clearly reduced, without impeding luminosity. A high-performance LED is used as the light source.

Sieler initially tested and adapted the theoretical basis for the construction of a micro-lens array. He then devised a corresponding system that was characterised in laboratory experiments and tested for its optical performance capacity. Sieler created the first prototypes within nine months and displayed the immense potential of the concept with which both static and mobile image contents.