FDA Does Not Adopt Recommendations on Laser Projection

In a setback for the laser projection industry, the FDA has not taken the advice of industry experts and has issued a tentative ruling that many view does not go far enough in removing roadblocks for the smooth roll-out of laser-based projection solutions.

On February 18, 2015 it published new guidance on laser illuminated projectors. It went into effect immediately, but the FDA 60 days comment period is essentially over.

According to Pete Lude, who provided the update at the SMPTE event, the new guidelines:

  • Deviate from consensus of international experts
  • Do not incorporate the latest science
  • Create a MORE restrictive environment, especially for non-cinema applications

The new guidelines classify digital cinema projectors as class 3B or 4 laser products, requiring an approved product variance, specific engineering requirements, annual reporting and physical installation limitations. And, they can only be sold to theater owners. This is out of step with what the EU is doing, which treats the laser source in a way that is similar to having a Xenon source in the projector.

This is unfortunate and not the outcome the Laser Illuminated Projector Association (LIPA) worked so hard to get. LIPA now has to think about what the next steps will be.