Today, you can store pictures, video clips, and documents in your cellular phone, but you can’t make full use of them without a companion handheld or embedded projection device.
That will soon change, thanks to an Israeli company’s recently unveiled mobile-projection module. At less than five cubic centimeters, Colibri is the smallest, highest resolution, most energy efficient module in the industry, according to makers, Explay, enabling full-color, speckle-free projection of any multimedia content onto any flat or curved surface.
Explay, which is based in Herzliya, demonstrated its new technology at the 2009 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. It proved a hit.
“We got exciting feedback from the industry,” CEO Daniel Oleiski tells ISRAEL21C. “This is a product that has been long awaited by our potential customers and was developed to the specifications we collected after many meetings and discussions with them.”
Embedded in your cell phone by 2010
Explay is now commercializing Colibri and partnering with players in mobile and consumer electronics. By 2010, Oleiski predicts, you’ll be able to buy a phone with Colibri embedded inside it.
“Think about laying your handset on the desk and projecting any content from your phone on the wall or on the ceiling. Seeing the big picture is going to be part of our life,” Oleiski asserts.
Explay — shorthand for External Display — was founded in 2004 in answer to the seemingly paradoxical demand for smaller phones with larger imaging capabilities.
“That’s how we got to projection,” says Oleiski, who holds industrial engineering and international marketing degrees and whose work experience includes a stint with Hewlett-Packard in Israel and five years in the San Francisco Bay area as Orbot Instruments’ director of marketing for North America.
He included former Orbot colleague Meir Aloni on the team as executive vice president in charge of research and development, as well as Michael Golub, a world-renowned optics scientist.
“Meir and Michael have mastered the technology and have developed our product — always looking to make it better and smaller, and more efficient on power consumption,” Oleiski explains.
Explay’s individually adapted mobile projection solutions extend not only to mobile phones, portable media players, and digital cameras, but also to applications including medical devices.
From phones to drawing blood
The company is working with Tennessee-based medical instrumentation firm Luminetx to develop and commercialize VeinViewer – an ultra-small projector that will enable health-care practitioners to view an image of a patient’s vascular system on his or her skin. Aside from making it easier to start an IV or draw blood, the technology may herald the end of the often-painful search for a vein.
Oleiski, who served his military service as a captain in the Israel Defense Forces’ Signal Corps, says that he and his wife had always planned to move back to Israel after his 1990-1995 stretch at Orbot.
“It’s all about family and friends,” he says. “We had a great time in the Bay area – there is no better place to learn high-tech – but we have no regrets about moving back, and using my skills and knowledge to help make Israel a better place for business and high-tech.”
Though commerce in the Middle East is in some ways more difficult than on the West Coast, he adds, it does offer certain advantages.
“In consumer electronics, a big part of our market will be in Japan and Southeast Asia, so it’s easier to do business from here because of the time zones,” he says. “At 6 or 7am I can talk with Japan and it’s after lunch there, while from California you have to call very late at night to talk to Japan early the next day.”
As for the future, Oleiski says Explay is focusing its R&D energies on increasingly sophisticated versions of Colibri. “It will be a huge market and we are at the front of that market in terms of readiness, technology, and product quality,” he says.