Thursday, May 28, 2015

Is Lenovo's Smart Cast Phone using the PicoP engine?

Update: 6/5/15: Here's a composite of the bTendo chip shown with the Lenovo engine so the similarities are easier to see.

Update: 5/30/15. It's not Microvision in the Lenovo prototype - it's STMicro and BTendo.

The board shown by STMicro in 2014 has a PCB that's an *exact* match for the PCB in the Lenovo video. The MVIS/Sony board is shown below, also with a quarter, for a rough scale.

And here are the two, superimposed:

It sure looks similar. Some of the details are different, but what it looks like is that someone took the elements of the Sony/Microvision PicoP engine and miniaturized things even further, to fit inside the case of a phone.

The PCB adjacent to the optical module has a very similar (but not identical) layout to the one inside the module in the Celluon projectors.

One interesting similarity between the modules is the number of leads that connect to the lasers on the Sony/Microvision board (10), and the seemingly identical number that appear in a connector at roughly the same place in this animated mock up of the Lenovo engine.

Click image for larger version

More suggestive evidence here:

It appears that Microvision was pitching a very similar use-case concept two years ago at CES. The Lenovo Smart Cast looks like it is a refinement of that concept.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Images from my PicoPro tear-down

I'll add more photos to this post as I have time to take them and label the components. Feel free to re-use these pictures but please provide a link back to this blog for attribution when doing so.

PicoPro with the bottom cover removed. (click each picture to enlarge)

Laser light path within the optical engine of the Sony/Microvision  module

Ruler displayed for scale

Better view of the lasers GRBGR, left to right. In front of each laser is a black plastic case that contains a very small beam expanding lens. I think the lenses are actually plastic. The five square cut-outs you can see in front of each black plastic case are for sensors that provide optical feedback to the circuit board and they turn off the lasers if any of the beams are interrupted.

Here are a few views of the MEMS unit next to a dime (click to enlarge). Unfortunately there's no readily obvious manufacturer's mark on it, though there is a small QR code. The writing on the ribbon connector says: "PB0133286-002 MICROVISION, INC."

The top and bottom of the projection module PCB, labeled as best I can. The bottom image is reversed right to left so that it lines up with the top image. Click for a larger version.

 Pictures of the top and bottom of the Celluon PCB. Bottom image is reversed right to left to line up with the top image. Click for larger versions.