A Pico Projector for the BeagleBone

Alasdair Allan
2 min readAug 7, 2017

The fallout from the smartphone war has left the maker community with sensors and processors that are almost cheap enough to throw away. But the availability of that cheap hardware relies heavily on how the smartphone and tablet market evolves, and over the last year or two the ubiquitous black rectangle we all carry with us hasn’t changed that much. Or at least not in ways that gives makers a new lever on the world.

Every so often however, something interesting still comes along. The new Texas Instruments DLP2000 is a micro-mirror device (DMD)—a digitally controlled micro-opto-electromechanical system. When used along with an optical system, a DMD is the heart of a pico-projector system.

The Texas Instruments DLP LightCrafter evaluation board. (📷: Texas Instruments)

The DLP2000 is ulta-compact 0.2 inch array of 640 by 360 aluminium micrometer sized mirrors capable of 7.56 μm pitch, and a 12° tile relative to a flat surface. It also has an dedicated DLPC2607 ASIC display controller and DLPA1000 power management and LED driver chips.

A top down view of the DLP LightCrafter. (📷: Texas Instruments)

The DLP2000 module costs $19.99, at least in low volumes. But it’d take a good deal of work to engineer a working project from the bare bones module.

However alongside the bare bones DMD module there is also an evaluation board and—at least from the maker perspective—it’s going to be a lot more interesting.

The DLP2000 LightCrafter is designed to work out of the box with the BeagleBone, and can project a 640×360 image at a brightness of up to 30 lumens.

The DLP LightCrafter in action. (📷: Texas Instruments)

While designed to be used with the BeagleBone the evaluation module also offers I2C and parallel RGB video interfaces. With a bit of work, it should be useable with most other single-board computers—including the Raspberry Pi. The LightCrafter evaluation board is available now, and costs $99.

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