Design platform for low power, cost-sensitive projector applications

April 25, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
LED-based projectors get smaller and cheaper - if designers use the Pico-gHD. The abbreviation designates what vendor Intersil claims to be the world's lowest cost pico projector system, and the industry’s smallest production-ready LED LCoS Pico Projector solution.

Developed for low power and cost-sensitive embedded or accessory pico projector applications, Intersil's Pico-qHD provides an integrated reference design that includes a high volume production optical engine, hardware, firmware and customizable design files. The low cost system solution utilizes Micron’s E330 compact 5.5 cubic centimeter qHD optical engine, allowing for easy integration into a wide range of applications, including Micron’s recently announced portable PoP Video pico projector mobile device accessory. Built on an inexpensive 1.7 inch by 2 inch PCB, the Pico-qHD is designed to meet the low manufacturing cost requirements of consumer applications such as digital cameras, smartphones, tablets, video players and other handheld products. Driven by such applications, Pacific Media Associates forecasts pico projector sales of 58 million units per year by 2015. 

The platform is based on Intersil’s new ISL97901, a fully-integrated buck/boost RGGB LED driver customized for pico projector display applications. The ISL97901 provides industry-leading overall power efficiency, the smallest solution footprint and the ability to drive RGB, RGGB LEDs. The ISL97901 maintains the highest image quality with precise current control. A 2.0mA resolution provides consistent white balance setting, yielding uniformity over production units and throughout the life of projectors. Its electronics system can drive up to 1.5A LED current, making it compatible with a variety of high power LEDs, and enabling pico projector engines with brightness levels exceeding 20 lumens. 

The LED LCoS Pico Projector reference design integrates a broad range of Intersil products in addition to the ISL97901 buck-boost LED driver, including the TW8835 LCD video processor, ISL9307 power management IC, ISL9110 buck-boost converter, ISL9230 battery charger and, as an option, the ISL58333 OEIC sensor for automatic, real-time white balance control to maintain image quality and reduce optical calibration cost. 


  1. Optimized solution for field-sequential LED LCoS pico projector systems
  2. Tiny 5.5cc optical engine with 7mm height enables embedded applications
  3. Compatible with up to 1080p video inputs with automatic scaling to qHD (960x540) display