Last week Kopin Microdisplay announced its 300M LV monochrome active-matrix liquid crystal display is being used in a new "breakthrough" product: a remote-control video cam mounted on a toy car from Wild Planet (www.wildplanet.com).
Senior Analyst and Editor
The Spy Video Car comes equipped with an infrared camera attached to its body and monocular eyewear worn by a user. A camera mounted on the front of the car sends an image wirelessly to the eyewear, which enables the user to drive the car in light or darkness up to 75 feet away.
The company said its Spy Video Car allows users to enjoy the "real life" perspective of driving from inside the car, including night-vision capabilities. Forget the next iPod or even Zune (sorry, Microsoft), this application has got to be the coolest thing on the Christmas toy list.
A tiny camera mounted in the car wirelessly sends images to the head-mounted display, putting you in the action with this first-person visual simulation experience. Embedding a camera/display unit into toys like this may just be the killer app for the head-up display market. Think of the implications. Radio-controlled cars are a good start. Take one to the slot-car track and you’re driving in the Indy 500. Think about the possibilities in radio-controlled planes and other flying devices - once transmission distances improve beyond the Spy Car’s 75ft limit.
Display development gains have helped drop costs for microdisplays technology to a point low enough to open up whole new mass markets to this kind of cool functionality. And the current product is a case in point. The CyberDisplay 300M LV offers a 300 x 225-pixel display on a tiny 0.16-inch diagonal AMLCD. The car, display and wireless electronics, night-vision camera and power supplies, all packaged and delivered, sell for an astounding $140 retail.
Bottom line: The mass-market appeal of a popular toy can skyrocket demand for key components like Kopin’s display into the stratosphere. Since Kopin can’t ramp production as easily as, say, the company that makes the "Pet Rock," Kopin had best prepare for a spike in device demand in case Spy Video Car takes off this Christmas.
I say, forget the kids, I want to take this thing for a spin.
Note: An expanded version of this story appears in the issue of Insight Media’s Mobile Display Report to be published later this week.