Texas Instruments Debuts Single-Projector 3D Technology

At the InfoComm 2009 show in Orlando Wednesday, Texas Instruments debuted new technologies to enable 3D projection using a single DLP projector. Already manufacturers like ViewSonic and Mitsubishi have launched several DLP projectors enabled for 3D.

Dave Duncan, worldwide education business development manager for T.I., told us the new 3D technology is geared particularly toward classroom environments, where 3D can be used to enrich visual presentations in subjects like science and math.

"For the first time," Duncan said, "we will be launching affordable [3D] projectors in line with XGA and SXGA [pricing] made specifically for the classroom environment."

Based on what's been announced as of this writing, that means pricing for the systems will be comparable to projectors with similar specs that do not have 3D capabilities--around $850 to $1,250 for high-light-output XGA models, depending on options. Furthermore, non-3D projectors will also be able to upgrade to 3D via firmware updates.

Unlike past attempts at bringing 3D to projection systems, T.I.'s new technology uses just one projector coupled with "DLP Link" active shutter glasses--no IR emitters, polarizers, or special screens required. The technology works by dividing a projector's 120 Hz output between the left and right eye (60 Hz each), along with synchronization data coming through during ultra-brief "dark" times between active data transmission. (For computers whose graphics cards are incapable of 120 Hz output, upconversion will be automatic.) 3D projectors will also function normally as 2D projectors without image distortion.

Since the technology is aimed specifically at the education market, the special active glasses will be available at an affordable price, according to Duncan, although no specific pricing was available at press time.

In other T.I. news, Bob Wudeck, business development manager for US Pro AV at DLP Products, told us that the company will be demonstrating lamp-free projectors at the InfoComm show. The demo units will be based on LED technologies, outputting more than 1,000 lumens of brightness--a significant advance in LED-based projection, and one that Wudeck said makes the technology suitable for classroom environments. He told us there won't be a significant premium for the technology (in other words, that it won't be much more expensive than lamp-based projectors) and that several factors will help compensate for any differences in prices, such as the savings on lamps (as LEDs have lives in the tens of thousands of hours) and the visual benefits LEDs bring, such as uniformity in brightness.

Further information about T.I.'s 3D DLP technology will be available on the company's site here or on its YouTube channel here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .