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Sep 11th, 2008
 
bTendo is Bringing Multi-Disciplinary Approach for Personal Projection Solution!
 
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 > Elan Roth, VP of Marketing and Business Development & Sason Sourani, CTO

Elan Roth serves as bTendo’s VP of Marketing and Business Development. Prior to joining bTendo, Elan Roth was VP of Marketing and Business Development with TransChip Inc. (acquired by Samsung Electronics), a fabless semiconductor company developing image sensors for the camera phone market. Roth was Senior Director of Product Marketing at CEVA and DSP Group and Sales director for M-Systems (Acquired by Sandisk). Roth holds an MBA and BSc. in computer engineering from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

Sason Sourani serves as bTendo’s CTO. Sason brings to bTendo more than 30 years of technological experience including expertise in signal processing, optical networking, optical components, and network processors. Prior to joining bTendo, Sason was Chief System Engineer at ECI Telecom's Broadband Access Division, CTO at Axonlink and VP R&D at Lambda Crossing. Before that, Sason was Development Manager at Motorola, which followed a stint at Israel's Ministry of Communications. Sason holds a BSc and an MSc in Electrical Engineering from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

Bringing together decades of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and optical design expertise, bTendo has developed groundbreaking laser-scanning display technology that lies at the core of cutting-edge solutions. Founded at the end of 2006, bTendo is led by a seasoned management team with extensive high-tech experience. Combining software, hardware, MEMS, and optics know-how, the multi-disciplinary team of professionals maintains a proven track record of bringing state-of-the-art technologies and innovative products to mass markets. A privately held company with international venture capital backing from BlueRun Ventures and Carmel Ventures, bTendo is ideally positioned to play a key role in mobilizing content viewing and sharing - both today and stretching into the future. For I-Micronews, bTendo is unveiling what is unique in its technology and strategy.
 
> YOLE
Could you introduce us to bTendo’s company background, technology and business model in the Display industry? According to you, what is the best positioning in the industry supply chain to be successful?
> Elan Roth, VP of Marketing and Business Development & Sason Sourani
Figure 1: bTendo's scanning projection module
bTendo is a fabless company that is developing a complete personal projection modules product line called “myPro” for both stand alone and in particular integrated (embedded) applications. bTendo’s Projection Module offering is comprised out of the following main elements (Figure 1):
i) Optical Engine – including the RGB lasers, the optics as well as two uni-axial electrostatic MEMS mirrors
ii) Drivers controlling the Lasers and the MEMS mirrors
iii) Interfaces handling the data/video input


The company was founded two years ago, and is headquartered in Israel. Backed by two global VCs (BlueRun Ventures, Carmel Ventures) we have around 25 employees, mainly R&D at this stage.
Our value proposition is to enable the most cost effective solution at the highest quality possible while simplifying the integration stage for our partners. By providing the complete optical module, already assembled, calibrated and perfected, our partners will achieve the quickest time to market without compromising on the quality or yield. Thus, bTendo’s positioning in the supply chain is to market an integrated projection module solution rather than just the selling MEMS mirrors, lasers or ASICs.
 
> YOLE
Could you share with us your vision on the winning technical scenarios to achieve a cost-effective personal projector. There are different projection technology approaches (MEMS, LCOS, LCD) and solid state light sources (HB LEDs, laser diodes). Can you comment on what you consider to be the most successful combination? What are the advantages of your approach?
> Elan Roth, VP of Marketing and Business Development & Sason Sourani
Figure 2: bTendo's micro mirrors solution
bTendo is confident that the only way to achieve high resolutions at a form factor that can be integrated into the ever shrinking mobile devices is through scanning technology. The combination of MEMS and Lasers offers the most cost effective solution that meets the markets needs: image quality (Resolution, Brightness, Sharpness, Color Gamut), small size, low price and low power consumption.

bTendo strongly believes that the best RGB light source for personal projectors is solely based on lasers. The main reasons are:
i) Smallest optical path due to very low etendue meaning smaller projector
ii) Focus free which improves usability and reduces cost (No need to add an expensive output lens and focus mechanism)
iii) Best brightness at lower power consumption
iv) Accurate and rich color gamut that is not achievable with LEDs


Our approach is to work with multiple laser vendors to ensure the constant supply of the best in class lasers for our product at the most attractive cost. This imposes a technical challenge to be able to come up with a flexible design of our modules that can meet various lasers available from different sources.
bTendo is using two uni-axial MEMS mirrors; one fast mirror for the horizontal axis and a second slow mirror for the vertical one as depicted in the figure 2. Our findings showed that operating a projector with two mirrors generates a more unified image with no vertical distortion that is an inherent problem of solutions based on single bi-axial mirrors (pincushion effect on both axes and curved horizontal lines, see figure 2). Additionally, the flatness of a mirror is achieved more easily on two distinctive elements rather than on a bi-axial mirror. Higher flatness enables the generation of a smaller screen spot obviously allowing higher resolutions. As for the mirrors actuation, bTendo has selected electrostatic actuators to drive the mirrors due to two significant advantages: lower power consumption and lower production costs. For further reading please refer here
 
> YOLE
How would you segment the personal projector market? What is your expectation for market introduction?
> Elan Roth, VP of Marketing and Business Development & Sason Sourani
bTendo’s sees two main markets drivers for personal projectors: Consumers with the needs to share rich multimedia content such as video clips and movies, pictures, games etc. and Professionals with the need to share data such as presentations, documents and web pages.
Our market expectation is that shortly after companion projectors gain market traction, consumers will seek mobile devices embedded with projection capabilities. The closest market behavior is most likely camera phone, which started as an accessory plugged externally to the mobile phone and soon after was integrated. Our expectations are that this market trend will most likely occur as from 2010.
 
> YOLE
Cost is a challenge for market introduction of pico projector. Can you comment on the cost objective today?
> Elan Roth, VP of Marketing and Business Development & Sason Sourani
Regarding cost, we are aligned with market expectations as forecasted by various analysts and appeared in recent market research reports. We expect the standalone personal projector to emerge first at higher ASPs, while the next wave of integrated/embedded projection solutions at much lower price level for a much bigger market. bTendo is absolutely confident that by selecting scanning mirrors as the technological basis to develop its projection modules, to bring to the market a product highly competitive not only technically, but with a significant commercial/ price advantage.
 
> YOLE
Brightness is another challenge for pico projector. Current state of the art is a brightness of 10 lumens. When do you expect increase this value (e.g. to 100 Lm)?
> Elan Roth, VP of Marketing and Business Development & Sason Sourani
bTendo’s current projector’s brightness level is within the 10 Lumen range. Our target is to increase brightness soon to the 15-20 Lumen range. By selecting lasers, we could achieve brightness levels higher than other competing techniques and is so far acceptable to market needs and use cases. Achieving 100 lumens is not practical in terms of power consumption or size for mobile handheld devices.
 
> YOLE
Epoq has just announced to have the world's first commercial projector phone. What do you think of this announcement?
> Elan Roth, VP of Marketing and Business Development & Sason Sourani
We were very pleased with the introduction of this device to the market, since it has demonstrated that indeed there is a need for such functionality and that OEMs are willing to invest in the development and marketing efforts involved in the introduction of new concepts to consumers. However, since we don’t have (yet) the actual product at hands, we cannot comment on the actual overall performance as a cellular handset and its projection capabilities in particular.
 

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