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June 12th, 2007
South Park Silicon Valley
Bloom runs Alces Technology Inc. (the name means "moose" in Latin, in case you were wondering), a company he started in his barn in 2003. You've been a stones throw away from Alces if you've ever been by the offices of Lower Valley Energy. But inside Alces' headquarters, in one of the tin buildings that dominate that stretch of Highway 89, a handful of people are pushing the limits of light projection by using nanotechnology.
Their 20 megapixel projector, used by the Air Force and a handful of well-heeled planetariums, uses a micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) -based grating light modulator (GLM) to "paint" a high-definition image on the screen in front of you using red, green and blue lasers.
"We create a two-dimensional image much in the same way an inkjet printer works," said Bloom. "With inkjet printers you have a linear array of nozzles, but as it moves across the paper it creates a two dimensional image. We do that with light. We use 4,096 pixels at 60 times a second — this scan mirror paints it across the screen. It sweeps across the screen, it paints the two-dimensional image."
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