Archive for December 7, 2011

About the blog and planned series on laser projection

Before I get back to finishing the story about how pico projectors can be “useful,” I wanted to say a few  things about the KGonTech blog and address some comments that have been made both public and private.

I’m happy to discuss and defend my statements but don’t ask me to reveal confidential information.   Also if you disagree with something that I’ve written, please be specific about where you think I am wrong.  I do occasionally make mistakes.

Direct Green Laser demo put together by Syndiant at CES 2011

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First, Be Useful (Home computers and Pico Projectors)

For today’s blog I am going to be setting up an analogy for what I see going on with pico projectors today.  Those that want to skip the history lesson and just learn about pico projectors may want wait for my next posting.  But just to entice you to read on, at the end of the appendix to this story, I tell of my meeting with Steve Jobs a few months before he bought Pixar.

The difference between a new electronic “necessity” and a “gimmick” comes down to being useful to the consumer.   But sometimes products start out life as “gimmicks” because the technology has not advanced enough to build a really useful product. Read more

Welcome to Karl Guttag on Technology

Welcome to Karl Guttag on Technology (KGonTech for short), a blog about technology with an emphasis on technology for image generation (including microdisplays, pico projectors, and video/image processors) and human-computer interfaces.  A big part of this blog will cover pico projectors technology, but I also plan to discuss the technical creative process, high tech startups, market strategy, and the early days of home computers and video games.  I will rotate the subjects, but there will definitely be more about pico projectors including the technology behind them and their applications.  While the header of this blog is kind of busy (so I have been told), it is kind of a word association with topics and devices I have been associated with to give you some idea as to what I might be covering.

Lately, I’m best known for my work in pico projectors and LCOS microdisplays as the former Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and one of the founders of the Syndiant.  Prior to becoming CTO of Syndiant, I was an independent inventor and the CTO of another LCOS startup.  The largest part of my career was with Texas Instruments (TI) where I became the youngest TI Fellow in the history of TI (at age 33) for my work on Media Processing DSPs, Graphics Processors/Accelerators, Video interface , Synchronous DRAM, Video DRAM (VRAM), two 16-bit microprocessors, and the Video Display Processor (VDP, the first “Sprite Chip”).    So I have seen the electronics industry first hand from both a large company and a small startup company perspective in my 34 years in the industry.  I also have to date 142 U.S. patents so I am quite familiar with the inventing/patent process.  For more details on me see “About Karl Guttag.”

What I hope what will make this blog different is that I first hand technical experience in designing devices and understand the much of they underlying technology.  For example, there are a number of sites such a PicoProjector-Info (see their interviews with me on Jul 22, 2009, May 20, 2010, and Dec 5, 2010 that proved to be controversial) that cover the news on pico projectors, but with my experience I can interpret and explain what is going on and separate marketing hype from technical reality.    I will try and boil the technology down so that the average person will be able to read and understand it.  I like to say that a most of my career I had to translate between the engineers doing the “real work” and the management whom didn’t have time to understand the technical details.

Now for the elephant in the room; after 7 years as a founder, Director, and CTO of the startup Syndiant I have decided to leave (effective December 16th).   I want to make it clear that Syndiant had some great technical people and some great technology and one of the best team of technical people I have ever worked with.  I also firmly believe there will be a big volume market for pico projectors with LCOS.   Furthermore everything I have been able to gather, Syndiant is the technological leader in small high resolution display devices and as of right now it is the only company with a very small HD microdisplay that works (and produces some fine looking images).  So please don’t take my leaving Syndiant as any sign that pico projectors or LCOS is not going to happen, because I’m still a big believer in LCOS based pico projectors and particularly the future of laser illuminated LCOS pico projectors.

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