TI DLP LightCrafter Giveaway
UPDATE: This giveaway has ended.
There is a giveaway (signup required) at Electronics Weekly, sponsored by Farnell and element14, for a piece of technology that I think is far too late at disrupting the invention and maker space.
Imagine a technology that can manipulate pixels of an image in their analog form, before they are digitized into a computer. The technology is DLP by Texas Instruments. Digital Light Processing. If you haven't seen this, here's how it works (simply put)...
In the late 1980's TI figured out how to produce a semiconductor with small small mirrored surfaces that could mechanically tilt. The tilt is induced by applying an electric field that can shift the mirror between two positions.
Now imaging an array of these micromirrors. How big would you like the array? 640x360 pixels? 1920x1080? How about 4K?
The micromirror semiconductor and the bias voltage drivers are packaged into a Digital Micromirror Device (DMD). Together with a a decoding ASIC, this chipset allows you to manipulate a light path from high-level programming.
So what applications are a good fit for DLP? The clear choice is video projection. Systems of light sources and lenses can be made to project anything, actually. Think of how this could be used in sensors, in user interfaces, in photography or video capture.
TI has done something really smart. They made an evaluation module that fits perfectly onto a BeagleBone Black (if you don't know it, think Raspberry Pi but more open). The is the TI DLP LightCrafter Display 2000 EVM. The EVM provides a native interface to the BeagleBone Black and carries the DMD chipset, light source, and optics. Street price on Mouser right now is $102. This is a great way to get started in DLP and see what you can do with it.