What is a Laser Projector?

The mental pictures that come to mind when one mentions the words "laser projector" may differ substantially. Ones own initial idea might be that it was similar to a small, standard DLP projector that is connected to your notebook to do PowerPoint presentations. Others might envision a laser pointer bouncing a beam off a small front surface mirror attached to the voice coil of a speaker to generate an inexpensive display on the wall.Still other people might think of the huge projector used in operation at the IMAX theatres all over the world.

The laser projector I have designed is a small moveable device that hooks up to your computer (via a dedicated laser contoller card) using a standard 25 pin RS-232 cable. The projector uses one to three lasers as light sources to produce monochrome, or full color imagery. The projector includes a means of specifically deflecting the laser beams, and furnishing blanking when needed for images and text. The laser beam deflection is done by the usage of 2 closed loop galvanometers that have front surface mirrors attached to the ends of the rotary shafts of the motors.The blanking is done by directly modulating the lasers. The last thing you need is to add a small portable sound system for the music that inspired the laser shows you will play.

The laser projector can project graphic animations and/or beams of laser light all synchronized to the music. A laser projector could be used to project images seen in broad daylight (a very powerful one) but is best viewed in total darkness for maximum dramatic effect. A laser projector could cost you anywhere from under a $1000 to tens of thousands depending upon your budget and requirements. mini projector have designed and buil many laser projectors over 10 years beginning with Acousto-optics modulators for blanking huge power hungry argon/krypton lasers. I then moved to using polychromatic AOM's for blanking which made life much easier but still had to lug around monster lasers that needed water cooling and lots of TLC. I eventually moved on to solid state lasers that are easy for one person to transport and do not need water cooling or high power demands to function.