The footnote that roared: MicroVision surges on news of Sony’s pocket-sized projector

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A diagram of MicroVision’s PicoP projection technology.

Sony’s announcement on Thursday that it is developing a laser-based, high-definition, pocket-sized projector didn’t mention MicroVision until the third footnote — but that was one heck of a footnote.

Shares of MicroVision nearly doubled yesterday, to $2.67, as a result of this afterthought from Sony: “(3) Incorporates the PicoP technology developed by MicroVision, Inc.”

MicroVison’s shares are up another 7 percent in trading this morning.

The company, which has roots at the University of Washington, has been developing the PicoP technology for years, promising a new generation of ultraportable projection technology with applications including smartphone projection systems and vehicle windshields. But the company has struggled to find its footing, with its cash balance sitting at $8.32 million as of September, down from more than $43 million in 2009.

In the news release, the footnote is connected to a mention of the Sony projector’s MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) mirror system, but other than that, details of the Sony agreement are scarce. It’s not clear if this is simply a patent licensing agreement or a deeper partnership, or how much MicroVision expects to gain in revenue. We’ve contacted MicroVision for more information on the Sony deal.

In the meantime, here’s how Sony describes the technology it’s developing:

Sony Corporation today announced the development of a pico projector module equipped with Sony’s independently-developed image processing system, that uses laser beam scanning (LBS)(1) to realize crisp, beautiful high-definition resolution and “focus-free” projection, regardless of the distance or angle from the projection surface. By combining this module with Wi-Fi components and a battery, it can realize a compact, pocket-sized projector which can be used to project images from products such as smartphones or tablets, focus-free and in even higher resolution, on any flat or curved surface such as a wall or desk.

Last December, Microvision said it received a warning from the NASDAQ that it had fallen out of compliance with the stock market’s $50 million market value requirement, giving the company until June of this year to get back into compliance or risk delisting of its stock from the NASDAQ. Based on the surge over the past two days, MicroVision’s market value is more than $90 million.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Jim Beam

    …..where are they being manufactured ? Another case were the taxpayers heavily subsidize university research and the jobs are overseas ?

  • Herb

    From Microvision -
    “Thanks
    for your message. We are extremely pleased and gratified that laser
    beam scanning technology that MicroVision pioneered is being adopted by a
    technology leader and innovator like Sony. Sony has a strong history
    with projector technology, optical technology, semiconductor lasers and
    consumer electronics so their interest in
    pico projection is a significant development for the market as a whole.
    We have seen the announcement
    they issued and will have further communication related to it next week.

    Regarding your question on the development agreement previously
    announced, here is what we sated in that announcement on the fees:

    Under
    the agreement MicroVision is supporting the OEM’s development of a
    display engine based on patented PicoP display
    technology and includes $4.6 million in development fees to MicroVision
    over the next 13 months. The companies have begun commercial
    negotiations with the expectation that licensing and component supply
    agreements would constitute the next stage of engagement
    leading to the OEM’s introduction of commercial products. At the request
    of MicroVision’s OEM customer, its name and other details of the
    contract are being kept confidential.

    As
    stated, those fees were for development work only. Licensing fees and
    component supply would be part of separate, future agreements. We are
    still bound by confidentiality regarding the name of the OEM customer in
    that development agreement and we take that obligation to maintain
    confidentiality very seriously.

    We look forward to providing additional business updates soon.”

  • Herb

    a poster at Yahoo indicated Apple might be in the mix as well –

    Sony is the tip of the iceberg.

    Samsung is the Fortune 100 company. Look for
    announcement by mid year. My sources tell me to watch for an
    announcement by Apple regarding a new computer. It is the size of a
    hard pack of cigarettes, it has no keyboard or screen and has wireless
    charging. Keyboard and information are all projected with MicroVision
    tech. It also has Blue Tooth and scanning. It can be submerged under
    water without being damaged. Look for Samsung to go to market before
    Apple. Apple has been hard pressed to compete with Samsung and Apple
    is hoping to change all that with this revolutionary new computer
    concept. Both these companies have been working with MicroVision for
    some time now. Also, on another front, the effort to get HUD’s into
    cars for the 2015 model year is really heating up. Look for
    MicroVision based HUD’s to be offered in several car brands this
    year.”