Projector Lenses the Size of Pencil Lead Are Big News for Smartphones

Sharing pictures of your kids used to be easy—whip out the wallet-sized photos and pass. Now, you pull out your phone and squint. With these new millimeter-cubed projector lenses, squinting, like wallet photos, may become a thing of the past.

The FLGS3 Series, from the Alps company, are asymmetrical glass lenses that measure a minuscule 1mm x 1mm x .8mm apiece—roughly the size of two clicks worth of pencil lead—and are low-loss, meaning they transmit 73% of the light beamed in. Being low-loss, they require less light input, which leads to reduced power consumption. And being so small means that they generate less heat.

Beyond their traditional uses in optical communications and submarine cables, you might soon find them incorporated into projectors even smaller than today's Picos or even embedded directly into smartphones. So, rather than having your cubicle buddies huddle around your miserable 3" screen, you'll be able to proudly show off your kids on the office wall.

[Alps via Ubergizmo]