Back in February we reported about a Future Trends  conference that Electrosonic’s founder Bob Simpson gave at #iseurope. Amongst the trend mentioned was laser beam projectors, which allow for brighter images and smaller lenses, ideal for environments with high ambient light, such as the ones where digital signage is.
The trend seems to be getting serious with a new association being formed by the giants of the projection industry in the US. The Laser Illuminated Projector Association (LIPA)  has launched with the goals of explaining the benefits of laser illuminated projectors, advocating for a positive regulatory environment, and developing appropriate training guidelines. The announcement was made today by the LIPA Advisory Committee, composed of industry leaders Barco, Christie Digital, Eastman Kodak, IMAX Corporation, Laser Light Engines, NEC Display Solutions, Necsel/Ushio Ltd., and Sony.
“LIPA will provide an important and appropriate vehicle for the industry to work cooperatively in fostering a welcoming business and regulatory environment,” stated Pete Lude of Sony, a member of the advisory committee. “We are excited about actively participating in accomplishing LIPA’s objectives.”
In a laser illuminated projector, the light source is a system of red, green and blue (RGB) lasers. Experts have stated that the use of lasers as the illumination source in digital cinema projectors has several important financial and quality benefits over current illumination technology. These benefits include dramatic reduction of operating costs through increased lifetime and reduction of maintenance, uniform image color and intensity, as well as increased 3D brightness.
The use of lasers, however, currently requires obtaining a variance from various regulatory agencies – in the US this is known specifically as a “laser light show variance”. This process does not reflect the industry’s maturation or its move into theater settings. Even though the emitted projection doesn’t have safety issues associated with conventional “laser light”, outdated regulations still require this emitted light to be legally treated as a “high powered laser light show” because the light was originally generated with a laser device.
LIPA will develop unified messages in rationalizing laser regulations and in communicating laser benefits to key constituencies. Also, companies will need a venue like LIPA to create and provide evaluation methods. LIPA’s founding companies believe that key groups such as theater owners/operators and regulatory officials will be willing to work with the new association.