Friday, February 03, 2006
Larry Hornbecké─˘s DLP chip itself has been called the most technological light switch in the world. It is an amazing rectangular platform of nearly two million tiny mirrors that dance and move thousands of times a second according to the electronic input they are receiving. Each microscopic mirror is mounted on a hinge and the width of each mirror is smaller than one-fifth the sized of a human hair! Imagine each mirror moving independently, reflecting light at breakneck speeds. In a movie theater, where a three chip projection is used, as many as 35 trillion colors are generated and projected onto the screen! At most, it is theorized, that humans can see around ten million distinct colors, so I wonder what our brains think about this sensory overload? Perhaps we will have to upgrade our eyeballs to keep pace with this technology. Essentially, the hinges control whether the light is é─˙offé─¨ or é─˙oné─¨ by pivoting in place. In one direction, they reflect light towards the screen, and in the other, they ideally reflect nothing when they tilt in the opposite direction.
The drive train, so to speak, of DLP is a digital video signal, a light source, a lens that the light travels through, the aforementioned mirrors on hinges and a color wheel of red, green, and blue that spins. A purple pixel, for example, will be generated when the tiny mirror reflects a combination of blue and red. A single chip can generate over 16 million different colors, which is probably beyond human capability, but man, does it look superb! The one knock against DLP, at the moment, is something called the é─˙Rainbow Effect.é─¨ Many people cané─˘t see it or doné─˘t notice it, but once told about it, they sometimes become bothered by it.
Hornbecké─˘s brainchild from the seventies, micromirrors on micro-hinges that are only 20% the size of a human hair, raises the bar on what is considered high technology, and DLP astounds our visual world with its brilliance.