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Ultrahigh Definition Microdisplay (UDM)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-11-C-6217
Agency Tracking Number: F093-021-1968
Amount: $749,906.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF093-021
Solicitation Number: 2009.3
Solicitation Year: 2009
Award Year: 2011
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2011-08-24
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
650 West Elk Avenue #8, PO Box 11180, Jackson, WY, -
DUNS: 137198862
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 David Bloom
 (307) 732-1994
Business Contact
 Chris DeMarco
Title: Manager of Operations
Phone: (307) 732-1994
Research Institution
ABSTRACT: Alces Technology has developed a novel 1D scanned linear array MEMS microdisplay capable of 8 megapixel images and beyond. In combination with recent developments in semiconductor laser light sources, the Alces Microdisplay provides a low-cost, scalable approach to fulfilling existing and future requirements for UDMs in HMD systems. Combining the Alces Microdisplay with waveguide optics will enable small form-factor HMDs with (1) the lowest cost per pixel and (2) performance levels that cannot be matched by current microdisplay approaches based on OLED, LCOS, or HTPS technology. As part of its Phase I project deliverables, Alces verified performance metrics and completed the design of its microdisplay including the layout of the MEMS device and concepts for the optical core and illumination sub-systems. For Phase II, Alces will develop its microdisplay technology with a focus on form-factor, performance and commercialization potential of the MEMS laser light engine. Alces will demonstrate that the optical specifications set in the UDM project can be met using low-power, commercially-available semiconductor laser sources and will demonstrate a path towards a compelling commercial solution based on this unique approach. BENEFIT: The display industry is experiencing a period of change, with particularly rapid progress in the development of laser light sources as an alternative to LEDs and UHP lamps. Recent announcements on new semiconductor green sources by Sumitomo Electric, Nichia, Rohm and products such as Casio"s Green Slim Projector demonstrate the potential for the laser to enter mainstream commercial products. In addition, the industry is constantly being driven towards ever higher resolutions by the voracious consumer appetite for higher resolutions. Alces is developing a 1D MEMS microdisplay technology that is specifically designed to take advantage of the unique properties of laser light in realizing high resolution projection displays. As such, it is perfectly positioned to capitalize on the recent developments in laser light sources and thus far unmet market requirements for low-cost, bright, ultra-high resolution displays. Furthermore, the Alces Microdisplay"s fundamentally low-cost, scalable approach to achieving high resolution will ensure sustainable advantages compared to systems based on incumbent DLP and LCOS light modulator components. There are numerous applications for Alces"projection technology and funded research programs contributing to the development of Alces"display technology are likely to prove substantially beneficial to a wide range of market segments - including consumer electronics, indoor digital signage, automotive HUDs and aerospace and defense HUDs and HMDs as well as benefiting the US display industry. In the consumer electronics space, Alces"technology will allow the creation of ultra-high resolution laser-based projectors with a size and price point an order of magnitude less than is currently possible. This will allow 4K resolution projectors, currently the mainstay of commercial cinema installations, to enter the home. Laser light sources also have high efficiency and a lifetime some two orders of magnitude longer than conventional UHP lamps, providing a clear future environmental benefit. For automotive, defense and aerospace markets Alces"technology will provide a fundamental change in providing high resolution, wide field-of-view helmet mounted displays (HMDs) and head-up displays (HUDs.) This will result in safety benefits for drivers, due to the quicker reaction time afforded by HUD technology and for warfighters who will be provided with acuity-limited HMDs providing increased situational awareness. In addition, developments in Alces"technology would fundamentally benefit its supply chain and ecosystem partners. A good example of this is the semiconductor laser diode industry. In the last year phenomenal progress has been made in the development of gallium nitride-based direct semiconductor green lasers, and in just 12 months since the initial reports of direct semiconductor lasing, engineering samples are now available for purchase. Alces"productization activities could help stimulate the industry to further improvements in performance and price point and fully realize the potential of this multi-billion dollar industry. Similarly, the ability of Alces"technology to display content at ultra-high resolutions would drive studios, distribution networks and content delivery partners to provide capacity to support this content.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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