Photonics West 2012: DLP technology finds more application in bio

By Lee Mather
At Photonics West 2012 (San Francisco, CA) I made sure to stop by Texas Instruments' (TI; Dallas, TX) booth, as the company is finding more ways to apply its proprietary Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology--which was originally used in some TVs and video projectors--in bioinstrumentation. The company used the show to launch its DLP LightCrafter module , which enables instrumentation developers to access spatial light modulation (the ability to form images from electronic signals) at up to 4,000 binary patterns per second. With the technology, developers can create, store, and display high-speed pattern sequences through the module's USB-based application programming interface (API) and graphical user interface (GUI).

DLP technology has already been applied to designs for contactless, 3-D fingerprint scanners, for example, according to Mike Troy, CEO at FlashScan3D (Richardson, TX), a 3-D biometric device maker. But packaged in the DLP LightCrafter module, the technology could yield faster fingerprint scans, internal data storage, and--because of its size--even a portable device, he says.

Bio applications enabled for the DLP LightCrafter include chemical analysis, spectroscopy, metrology, photostimulation, and even optical coherence tomography (OCT). For OCT, the module's spatial light modulation ability comes into play to bring higher speeds. And on demo at the booth was Christie Medical Holding's (Memphis, TN) VeinViewer Vision enhanced with the module, enabling a real-time digital projection of a patient's veins (see image)--a useful technology when veins are difficult to detect.

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