Well, really the sharks are projected with lasers but I couldn’t resist the super villainy visual of “sharks with lasers.”
The basics of this technology are: a directionally controlled laser either strikes a display surface to scan an image quickly or the laser stimulates another material (typically a phosphor) that then emits a particular color. For example, Prysm combines a violet light laser with a phosphor panel to create a fairly low-energy video cube platform for large format display applications (something I understandably track closely given Mersive’s ability to create any-size display).
Using the same approach, I’ve seen companies use a laser that is directed and then focused at particular points in space to illuminate a 3D volume of plasma bodies that then generate light. The effect is a true 3D display without the need for glasses.
Laser illumination has some great advantages over other light source technologies, including OLED.
– A laser typically has 50,000+ hours of life
– It can be powered with very small currents
– The laser is a point light source that is steered, so it is basically able to focus anywhere it hits.
As I’ve pointed out in a previous post, these factors make laser an ideal technology for pico projectors.
Of course all things also have some disadvantage. The biggest downside of a laser source is known as “speckle”. Speckle is a physical phenomenon that occurs when the exact same wavelength is emitted by a light source but the light waves are phase-shifted or have different amplitudes. As a result, those waves together create random energy output. This results in a visual “speckle” image on the screen.
I am not aware of a good way to currently solve this problem that is commercially viable, but it is being looked at by a large number of very-smart people so I am sure it will be addressed over time.
There were a few other less main stream displays at CES related to lasers worthy of mention:
– A low-cost laser display that generates raster-scan images on a glass surface. Presumably this approach is focused on filling digital signage applications.
– Low-cost projected interfaces. Lasers can also be used as part of very low-cost user interface displays. I used to carry a tiny foldout Bluetooth keyboard to support ad hoc meetings when I’m on the road. I may switch to a laser-projected keyboard for the Tablet I carry. This one looks particularly nice.
– And of course, the laser-projected sharks!