#243 Digital Micromirror Device


Modulating digital light pulses using up to 2 million micromirrors.

The Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) was recognized as an ASME Mechanical Engineering Historic Landmark in 2008. Its development began in 1977 with the forming of a small team at Texas Instruments headed by noted physicist Larry Hornbeck. Texas Instruments was given a project from the Department of Defense to create a device that could modulate light. Through years of research and development Hornbeck came up with an idea to use micromirrors as a sort of on-off switch to modulate digital light pulses.

DMD - DLP Cinema ProjectorIn 1987, the first Digital Micromirror Device was created at Texas Instruments. Hornbeck was granted the first patent for the DMD design in 1991. This initial design was the basis for current Digital Micromirror Devices. Soon, Digital Micromirror Device chips were incorporated into Digital Light Processing (DLP) projectors. Each micromirror in a DMD represented 1 pixel in a projected image. The DLP projectors included either one or three DMD chips and weighed inunder two pounds, less than half the weight of previous projectors. DLP projectors were incorporated into many companies’ offices, modernizing the conference room. The DLP projector, made possible by the Digital Micromirror Device, also impacted the movie industry. Reels of film used in old projectors became obsolete with the introduction of DLP projectors.

The Digital Micromirror Device changed the projection and film industry forever. Researchers continue to develop DMD technology and explore its future uses in a variety of fields.

Digital Micromirror Device

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Landmark Location

Plano, Texas


Texas Instruments

Visiting Info:

DLP(r) Demo Center
Spring Creek Two
6550 Chase Oaks Boulevard
Plano, Texas 75023
Hours of Operation: M-F, 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Tours available by appointment only

Other Resources

DMD - Digital Micro Mirror Landmark Ceremony Texas Instruments Brochure
Digital Micromirror Device Brochure

Learn more about the Digital Micromirror Device!

Visit the TI DLP Page: http://www.dlp.com/

Special thanks to Larry Hornbeck and Amy Treece for writing the brochure, excerpts of which wereadapted to create the content on thispage.

Ceremony Notes

Pictured Above from Left to right: Ruthy Thayer, Herman Viegas, Mark Fletcher, Keith Thayer, Austin Kozman, Larry Hornbeck, Bogdan Antohe, Amy Treece (Photo by Edward Kudlis)

Ceremony Notes:

The ceremony was held May 1, 2008 at the Hilton Dallas Lincoln Center. The speakers and presenters included Austin Kozman, Chair ofASME's North Texas Section, Herman Viegas of ASME's Committee on History & Heritage, Mark K Fletcher, DLP Characterization Engineer and Member of theGroup Technical Staff, Keith Thayer, Past ASME President, and Dr. Larry J. Hornbeck, TI Fellow - Texas Instruments.

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