Extremely miniscule glass lens can be used to turn smartphones into projectors

Technology still amazes me even though I’m immersed in it every day. It’s stuff like extraordinarily tiny glass lenses that can turn mobile phones into projectors that make me saw, “Sweeeet.” And just looking at the image above, I’m confident that you readers will think the same.

Look at it, it’s small like a granule of sugar, yet it could be embedded into phones to turn them into useful work or play tools. Here are the details on that little speck of glass, as reported by Wired:

At 1mm x 1mm x .8mm, the teensy FLGS3 Series lens is barely the size of the tip of mechanical pencil lead; and actually, it’s the smallest in the industry. Aspherical glass lenses like this are typically used in optical communication applications, where data is converted and transmitted as light signals. Projectors are one such application.

What’s pretty amazing isn’t just the size of this thing, but that it can be manufactured and polished to a grade that can be used in optics. Using this in a phone to accommodate a projector is cool because most smartphone projectors have been expensive, bulky attachments. They also eat up a lot of your battery, and so there is very little incentive to buy them. Having the projector embedded into the phone might will make using it more likely, so it’s awesome to see little bits of technology like this one.

Here’s some techno-jargon on this thing:

This lens in particular has what’s called a coupling efficiency of 73 percent. Coupling efficiency is a measure of light transmission efficiency, the amount of wideband light projected through an aperture, taking into account things like reflection and diffusion. Since it has a lower loss than previous models, which had a coupling efficiency of 68 percent, less power is consumed and less heat is created. The increase in coupling efficiency is due to the lens’ higher effective numerical aperture.

Translation: this mini glass lens allows light to pass through it much more easily than similar versions in the past.

Will we start seeing projectors as a standard feature for smartphones? Who knows. It’s hard to imagine finding regular use for it – just like video calling, don’t pretend like you use it every day – but it’d be damn cool to snap a bunch of photos with your smartphone and show them off to friends at a party by projecting onto a wall.

[Via: Wired]

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