DLi Resource Center - FAQs

FAQs

Who is DLi?

Digital Light Innovations (DLi) is the premiere authorized Design House for Texas Instrument’s DLP Technology. In addition to designing and distributing the last several generations of DLP Discovery Development Kits, we’ve partnered with top companies and academic institutions throughout the world, as well as domestic government agencies, to provide state-of-the-art photonic solutions and services using TI’s DLP Technology. Our world-class design team provides complete turn-key solutions custom tailored to your application and a wide array of custom design & optics services, prototype & product manufacturing, as well as inventory management services.

Our main goal is to provide value throughout the entire product life cycle in order to reduce your overall time to market and maximize ROI. Whether you need research and DLP development kits, custom design & optics services, low-volume prototype optics and electronics, or high-volume manufacturing, DLi is your global DLP design partner.

 

What is DLP® Technology?

Digital Light Processing offers development platforms and chipsets to enable innovative applications that incorporate light processing and light steering needs. The DMD™ (Digital Micro Mirror Device), is the MEMS component at the heart of DLP technology and contains an array of micromirrors that can be used for Spatial Light Modulation (SLM).

The DMD is probably the world’s most sophisticated light switch. It contains a rectangular array of up to 2 million hinge-mounted microscopic mirrors; each of these micromirrors measures less than one-fifth the width of a human hair. When integrated with a light source, optics and electronics the mirrors on the DMD can reflect a binary data pattern or video image with speed, precision and efficiency far surpassing that of other spatial light modulators.

The DMD and the sophisticated electronics that surround it are what we call DLP technology. A DMD’s micromirrors are mounted on tiny hinges that enable them to tilt either toward the light source in a DLP projection system (ON or +12 degrees) or away from it (OFF or -12 degrees) – creating a light or dark pixel on a projection surface. The bit-streamed binary data entering the semiconductor directs each mirror to switch on and off up to several thousand times per second. When a mirror is switched on more frequently than off, it reflects a light gray pixel; a mirror that’s switched off more frequently reflects a darker gray pixel.

 

What Custom Design & Optics Services does DLi offer?

DLi’s world-class Design Team with extensive optical, electrical, mechanical and software design experience provides complete turn-key solutions custom tailored to your specific application. We’ve partnered with top companies and academic institutions throughout the world, as well as domestic government agencies to provide state of the art photonic solutions utilizing Texas Instruments DLP® technology. Our unparalleled design services support clients from design concept to prototype development through production design phases.

DLi also provides design consultation, product manufacturing, and inventory management services based on customer needs. Also, as a member of the Apple Developer Program, DLi is uniquely positioned to provide custom design solutions with interfaces to Apple devices. Our main goal is to provide value throughout the entire product life cycle in order to reduce your overall time to market and maximize ROI. Below are just some examples of the Custom Design & Optics Services we offer.

  • Complete Light Engine Design
  • Electronic Board Design
  • Custom Optics Design: Optical/Opto-Mechanical
  • Full Color/Grayscale Light Modulation Algorithms
  • High-Speed Streaming Interface Design
  • Custom Control & Data Interfaces
  • SW Development: GUI/API/Drivers/RTOS/Embedded
  • Custom Designs Based on TI’s DLP & DLP Discovery Technology
  • Custom HW Accessories for Apple iOS Devices
  • Custom DLP Optics, Projections Lens Design, & illumination Systems

 

What is the CEL5500?

The CEL5500 stands for Compact Embeddable Light Engine and it was designed, developed, and manufactured all in-house at DLi. It is the smallest form factor Light Engine on the market and the only production ready industrial projection platform available. It comes available in two configurations: the CEL5500v for Video applications and CEL5500s for Structured Light applications. Users also have their choice between Fiber-Optic, LED, or Custom Illumination. The CEL5500 is ideal for today’s cutting edge applications such as 3D Scanning, Microscopy, Spectroscopy, Holography, and Hyperspectral Imaging.

 

What Development Kits do you sell?

Other than designing the last few generations of TI’s development kits, we are an authorized distributor of the D3000 and D4100 Discovery™ Kit Products. As an authorized Design House, we develop our own DLi branded version on the D3000 and D4100. Our DLi3000 is an Embedded Controller Board with DVI and is based on the D3000 Chip Set. It is the first development kit that uses a DMD Remote Board (as opposed to on-board like the D3000) with a 5” or 12” Flex Cable for transferring images and patterns to the DMD at extremely high speeds.

We also have our NEW DLi41xx development kit Bundle Series that we just launched in September 2012 based on the Discovery™ 4100 development kit. The series consists of different kit bundles, the DLi4120/4130.

In addition to development kits, we design and distribute the only production-ready industrial light engine on the market, the CEL5500 (See above for more information).

 

What is a Discovery™ D4100 Kit?

DLP Discovery 4100 is a DLP-based development kit that is capable of extremely high switching speeds and high resolution performance in SLM. With visible (VIS) and ultraviolet (UV) optimizations available, the D4100 is extremely versatile. This Kit offers developers a flexible platform to develop a proof of concept, serves as a reference design for a market-ready product, and facilitates scientific experimentation with proven reliability. The DMD comes in three different resolutions: XGA (1024 x 768), 1080p (1920 x 1080), and WUXGA (1920 x 1200).

To control the D4100, users can download the Discovery Explorer Software as part of their kit purchase. This includes an Application Programming Interface that allows users to control the D4100 kit through an ActiveX or DLL library that is portable and usable in V++ or LabView. However, Explorer limits users to <20Hz, so for higher frame rate capability, refer to the DLi4120 and DLi4130 Development Kit Bundles.

 

What does the D41xx Kit include?

The D4100 development kit utilizes the latest DLP Chip Set from TI, which includes the DDC4100 Digital Controller, DAD2000 DMD Power & Reset Driver, and the DMD. The kit also comes with the DMD Remote Board, Flex Cable/s for interfacing the DMD, Xilinx® Virtex® 5 LX50 Application FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array), onboard Cypress 68013 USB, DDR2 SODIMM Connector (up to 4GB DDR2), 5V Power Supply, EXP Expansion Connectors for connection to Avnet EXP enabled FPGA development product, Mictor test connectors for logic analyzer connections, a JTAG header for FPGA programming, and GPIO connectors for general purpose digital I/O.

 

What is the DLi41xx Development Kit Bundle Series?

The DLi4100 Development Kit Bundle Series was just launched in September 2012. The series consists of different kit bundles, the DLi4120/4130. We developed this series based on customer needs and feedback, as well as industry trends. They are all based on the D4100 Development Kit but we now offer them as complete turn-key solutions by bundling each with specific add-ons, all at an optimized price savings. For example, the DLi4120 packaged with ALP-4.1 Basic Controller Suite, and the DLi4130 with the ALP-4.1 High-Speed Controller Suite.

 

What do the DLi41xx Kit Bundles include?

The DLi41xx Development Kit Bundles utilizes the latest DLP4100 Chip Set from TI, which includes the DDC4100 Digital Controller, DAD2000 DMD Power & Reset Driver, and the DMD. The kit also comes with the DMD Remote Board, Flex Cable/s for interfacing the DMD, Xilinx® Virtex® 5 LX50 Application FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array), on-board Cypress 68013 USB, DDR2 SODIMM Connector (up to 4GB DDR2), 5V Power Supply, EXP Expansion Connectors for connection to Avnet EXP enabled FPGA development product, Mictor test connectors for logic analyzer connections, a JTAG header for FPGA programming, and GPIO connectors for general purpose digital I/O. The DLi4100 Kits comes standard with an onboard USB 2.0 interface. If users need to run on Windows 7, Vista, or XP Pro 64 bit, they need the DLi4120 or DLi4130 Kit Bundle. If you’re working with extremely high frame rates, such as >60Hz, you need the DLi4130 Kit Bundle which comes packaged with the full version of ALP-4.1 High-Speed Controller Suite. This gives users the capability to work with binary frame rates up to 22,727 fps and 290 fps 8-bit grayscale.

 

Can I buy the DMD alone?

No, the DMD must be purchased with the corresponding Chip Set.

 

Do the DLi41xx Bundle Kits Come with Software, Drivers, and an API / GUI?

The standard D4100 kit software is available on TI’s Extranet. Upon registration, the user can download the Discovery™ Explorer GUI / API and Windows drivers (The D4100 runs on 32-bit Windows XP). To run on Windows 7, Vista, or XP 32/64 bit, users need to purchase the ALP-4.1 Basic or High-Speed Controller Suite, which comes packaged with the DLi4120 and DLi4130 Kit Bundles.

The Discovery™ Explorer software allows users to run at approximately 20 frames per second at 1-bit per pixel (bpp) through a GUI (Graphical User Interface). Users also get access to ActiveX and DLL libraries through C++ or Labview, but they’re limited to lower frame rates because each individual image must be transferred across USB 2.0. For required frame rates >20Hz, users need the ALP-4.1 High-Speed Controller Suite.

 

What is the ALP-4.1 High-Speed Controller Suite?

In order to achieve frame rates (>60Hz or 8-bit grayscale), users need the ALP-4.1 High-Speed Controller Suite Software. It is a full software controller suite (includes an API & GUI) specifically made for the Discovery 4100, allowing for up to 22,727 fps (binary) and 290 fps (8-bit grayscale) . The ALP-4.1 High-Speed also gives users the flexibility to develop their own application interface through C++, Visual Basic .Net, MATLAB, and LabView. It comes with a very simple GUI (Graphical User Interface) that provides users with out of the box ease, but the real power of ALP-4.1 is in the API. ALP-4.1 High-Speed API comes packaged with the DLi4130 Kit Bundle.

With the ALP-4.1 High-Speed Suite, 32Gbit DDR2 SDRAM memory, a FPGA Key, and a battery are added to the Controller Board. This allows users to pre-load and deliver up to 40,000 images to the on-board SDRAM via an enhanced USB 2.0, with transfer rates of 1.2 Gbit/s. Images & patterns are then sent to the DMD array with data rates of 24 Gbit/s. The ALP-4.1 High-Speed runs on 32-bit & 64-bit Windows 7, Vista, and XP environments. The main difference between the Explorer software and ALP-4.1 HS is that with the ALP High-Speed, users can buffer images in on-board memory allowing higher frame rates and 8-bit per pixel (grayscale). Unlike any other controller suite software, the ALP-4.1 High-Speed contains Trigger Facilities for master or slave mode synchronization with external devices. The Discovery Explorer API is limited to frame rates

 

What is the TI Extranet and how do I gain access?

The TI Extranet is a vastly important and useful resource database for all Discovery users. The Extranet offers everything from technical support, data sheets, technical pecifications & sample code, to user group forums, etc. Users first need to register with TI and fill out the End User Agreement to request access to the TI Extranet (Click on link below). Once the agreement is complete, contact our Sales Department (sales@dlinnovations.com) and request Extranet access. We in turn will forward that request to TI, who approves the end user for Extranet access. This process takes about 3-5 days. Once complete, users will receive an approval email from TI.
www.dlp.com/discovery/mydiscoveryapplication

 

Where do I go to download the Explorer API Software?

The Explorer API Software comes with all D4100 Development Kits. To download the Explorer, log in to the TI Extranet (If not approved for the Extranet, follow the above steps to gain access). Once logged in, go to “Extranets Available to You.” On the bottom left of the screen, it will list all the links you have access to. For example, you should see “DLP® Discovery™ Documentation” and “DLP® Discovery™ Software Documentation.” To find the Explorer download, as well as technical specs and sample code for the software, click on “DLP® Discovery™ Software Documentation.” Then select and link for Discovery™ D4100 Documentation. Read and agree to the terms, then it will take you to the software documentation. You will find component data-sheets, interface and starter kit design drawings, and link for Discovery™ D4100 Software Download.” Click on this link, save, and download the Explorer. System requirements, sample code, API Programmers Guide, and User Guides can be found on that page as well.