Are Prysm As Far Along As They Claim?
Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief
Prysm (nee Spudnik) seemed to do a good job creating some excitement at last week’s ISE2010 in Amsterdam. Just goes to show what a closed booth and unannounced product can do.
All the press to date seems to be taking Prysm’s claims for things like low power consumption at face value – we will be looking at that in a bit more detail next week. In the meantime though we just wonder if Prysm is actually as far along in the production process as they claim.
A little bit of online research found these recent job postings…
The first job posting is for someone to figure out how to calibrate and control their product – “The Calibration Algorithm Firmware Engineer will develop algorithms and associated hardware to improve the performance of the dynamic feedback systems in the Prysm Super Bright Mini Cube (SBMC) product. This engineer is responsible for ensuring that calibration algorithms and dynamic systems are stable in operation under the complete range of product operating conditions. He/She is also responsible for the analysis of calibration test data and de-bug of known problems on the existing opto-mechanical system hardware and firmware”
Hmmmm. That could mean that they do not have a handle on a pretty basic problem – one of stable control. I thought they told our people who visited the booth that they had figured that out?
The second job posting is for a software engineering manager – “The Manager of Software Engineering is responsible for technical management of the Software Engineering department. The Manager of Software Engineering is the primary contact inside Prysm with regard to all software engineering issues. He/She is responsible for setting overall software engineering standards and metrics of design, quality and performance of the SBMC software”
Now this may not be so much of a problem but you would have thought that if they were to begin shipping soon (as they claimed at ISE) that they might have one of these already?
What we saw in Amsterdam was little different to what we saw in their whisper suite at Orlando in Florida in June 2009 at InfoComm.
February 10th, 2010 at 15:07 @671
It’s going to be a very nice product. Unfortunately “going to be” is the key phrase. I like the technology, but they clearly have a long way to go to accurately control the laser beam. There are some very obvious scanline alignment issues with regular patterns of dark and even black scanlines.
However, the phosphors are well understood as regards burn and aging, and the viewing angle is absolutely unbelievable at (I reckon) 175 degrees – I saw a very slight falloff very close to plus or minus 90 degrees. Brightness is excellent, and the power meter was reading 22W per tile when I was in there.
Resolution is a bit low for signage at 640×480 (so I was told) per tile, but it should be a simple matter given their methodology to improve that by printing smaller phosphor dots later.
Give them a little bit of time and this is going to be a game changer.
February 11th, 2010 at 12:59 @583
There was a noticeable difference between the best and worst performing modules in the Prysm demo wall. Taking the best as an example of what the technology ought to be able to deliver the real problems are most likely concerned with achieving consistency and doing so at a price that is viable.
The low power consumption figures are really exciting – remember >90% of power used by most conventional display products is wasted as heat and you’ll usually end up paying for this twice over – once in generating it as a by-product and again in managing it with air conditioning.
Concerning the phosphors – I don’t think these will be susceptible to aging or ‘burn’ in the same way as understood in CRT or plasma panels as the display face was cold to the touch. In plasma and CRT displays phosphors degrade/become contaminated through a variety of processes that don’t seem to be involved in this technology. Whether they decay by some other process and at what rate would be interesting to know.
Definitely one to watch and likely to upset a few apple carts if it can deliver on its promises.
February 11th, 2010 at 14:17 @636
I was told by one of their people that if you run video on the screen for 6 years, each phosphor dot is only energised for 20 minutes in that time. I assume that’s because they’re pulsing it at high power with short pulses and using the fade time of the phosphor to fill in the holes. That would mean it’s pretty hard to burn it in!