Light Blue Optics Raises US$26 Million to Accelerate Development of Laser-based Miniature Projection Systems

"Light Blue Optics (LBO), the industry-leading developer of holographic laser projection technology, today announced closing a US$26 million Series 'A' funding round, led by Earlybird Venture Capital and Capital-E. Existing investors 3i plc, who led LBO's US$3.5 million seed-funding round, and NESTA also participated.

Founded in 2004, LBO has developed an innovative holographic laser projection technology that allows full colour, high-quality video images to be projected onto flat or curved surfaces. LBO's novel approach to projection delivers a unique combination of enabling features including an ultra-wide throw angle, in-built laser speckle reduction, infinite focus, low power consumption, no moving parts and a robust design that naturally lends itself to miniaturisation and low cost manufacture. The Company estimates that the total available market for miniature projection systems will exceed $5 billion by 2012.

About Light Blue Optics:
LBO’s holographic laser projection technology creates full colour, high-quality images that remain in focus at all distances. The term “holographic” refers not to the projected image, but to the method of projection. A diffraction pattern of the desired 2D image, calculated using LBO’s patented holographic algorithms, is displayed on a phase-modulating Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS) microdisplay. When illuminated by coherent laser light, the desired image is projected.

Rather than blocking light, the phase-modulating LCOS microdisplay steers the light to exactly where it is needed, making the system highly efficient. Unlike conventional projection systems, LBO’s technology does not require a projection lens. Instead, a demagnification lens pair expands the diffracted image from the microdisplay, producing an ultra-wide throw angle greater than 90ยบ. The projected images are in focus at all distances from the projector, eliminating the need for a focus control.

The diffractive method of projection naturally lends itself to miniaturisation and low cost implementation. It allows images to be projected onto curved and angled surfaces without distortion, and is highly tolerant to microdisplay pixel failure – essential in safety critical applications in markets such as automotive."

Source: Light Blue Optics