Digital Light Innovations Graphic: 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.

DLi is also on the forefront of creating new technology for emerging Life Science applications such as Hyperspectral Imaging. Invented by DLi’s very own Dr. Karel Zuzak, DLHsi® is a platform technology applicable to a variety of clinical venues resulting in highly-relevant real-time video rate mapping and visualization of a patient’s condition; performed remotely without touching the patient. 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 DLHsi® & Life Sciences?

DLi specializes in applying DLP technology to life sciences applications. Working with industry leaders, DLi continues to build on its DLP expertise applying it to a wide range of breakthrough life science technologies. With an established and growing intellectual property (IP) position and an entrepreneurial mind-set, DLi is poised to revolutionize the industry with our DLHsi® technology for Hyperspectral Imaging applications.

DLHsi® technology is a platform invented by Hsi expert & DLi employee Dr. Karel Zuzak. It is applicable to a variety of clinical venues resulting in highly-relevant, real-time, video rate mapping and visualization of a patient’s condition; performed remotely and without touching the patient. After several years of using DLHsi® technology at UT Southwestern Medical Center multiple clinicians report the real-time, video rate chemical imaging and versatility of DLHsi® technology makes it practical for a wide variety of surgical and clinical applications and helping surgeons and physicians “see better”. The value of DLHsi® technology is in reducing the risk for complications and associated financial liability to the hospital.

Potential medical applications include but are not limited to general surgery, plastic surgery, laparoscopic and robotic surgery, wound management and debridement. During plastic surgery, DLHsi® technology allows the surgeon to evaluate skin flaps and mastectomy skin for reducing the risk of a post-operative necrosis. DLHsi® technology can guide the surgeon in excising dead, contaminated tissue and highlights foreign matter from a wound not visible to the unaided eye.

Beyond medical applications, DLHsi® technology has applications in threat detection (pathogens and toxic agents) and food safety. Unlike any other platform, DLHsi® is well positioned as a breakthrough technology platform in the medical, threat detection and food safety industries.
Below are some of the benefits of DLHsi®:

  • Ideal for Most Medical-Industry Applications
  • Threat Detection & Food Safety Industries
  • Technology for Everyday Use in the Hospital
  • Turn-Key Solution / Easy to Operate & Deploy
  • Enhances Patient Safety
  • Reduces Complications & Financial Liability
  • Helps Physicians/Surgeons “See Better”
  • Created and Sold Solely by Hsi Experts DLi

 

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 3 different kit bundles, the DLi4110/4120/4130.

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 DLi4110, 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. The D4100 Kit comes standard with an on-board USB 2.0 interface, but if DVI connectivity is desired, users need the DLi D2D Expansion Board, which comes bundled with the DLi4110 Kit Bundle.

 

What is the DLi41xx Development Kit Bundle Series?

The DLi4100 Development Kit Bundle Series was just launched in September 2012. The series consists of 3 different kit bundles, the DLi4110/4120/4130. 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 DLi4110 is bundled with the D2D DVI Interface, 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, but if DVI connectivity is desired, users need the DLi D2D Expansion Board, which comes packaged with the DLi4110 Kit Bundle. 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.

 

What if I need Grayscale Capability or DVI Connectivity with my D4100?

For grayscale capability, users need either the DLi D2D Interface Expansion Board or the ALP-4.1 High-Speed Controller Suite. For DVI, the DLi D2D DVI Interface Expansion Board is required. The D2D is used to stream video directly to the DMD and create patterns and images in real time using DirectX or OpenGL. Users can purchase either the DLi4110 Kit Bundle, which comes packaged with the DLi D2D DVI Interface Expansion (8-bit grayscale and 24-bit color at 60Hz) or the DLi4130, which comes with the full version of ALP-4.1 High Speed API. For DLi4130 users who need DVI, you can purchase the D2D DVI Interface as an add-on.

 

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 if my Required Frame Rates are >20Hz?

For required frame rates >20Hz, D4100 users will need the DLi D2D Expansion Board (for frame rates up to 60Hz at 24-bit color) or the ALP-4.1 High-Speed GUI / API (for frame rates up to ~24,000Hz Binary or 290+ fps at 8-bit). The DLi4110 Kit comes bundled with the D2D DVI Interface and the DLi4130 is packaged with the ALP-4.1 High-Speed Controller.

 

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 DLi3000?

The DLi3000 Embedded Controller Board is a small footprint hardware solution for economical integration of DLP Discovery 3000 technology into prototypes, new products, or volume production systems.

It utilizes D3000 Chip Set from TI (DDC3000 Digital Controller, DAD1000 Power & Reset Driver, and DMD), a Xilinx Virtex 4 application FPGA, and 2Gbit DDR2 SDRAM. On-board USB and DVI hardware provides customizable interfaces to a host of imaging sources such as PC’s or servers.

With visible (VIS) and ultraviolet (UV) optimizations available, the DLi3000 comes in two different resolutions: XGA (1024 x 768) (VIS and UV) and SXGA+ (1400 x 1050) (VIS only). Both formats incorporate a 32-bit low noise LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling) for high-speed data transfer. The SXGA+ model uses a 0.95” DMD while the XGA uses a 0.7” DMD. The DLi3000 gives users grayscale capability.

 

What does the DLi3000 Kit include?

The DLi3000 Kit includes the DLi3000 Controller Board, 2Gbit DDR2 SDRAM, DMD + Remote Board, 12” Flex Cable, mounting Hardware (faceplate, interposer, back plate, heatsink), DVI-D adapter cable assembly (requires standard DVI cable to connect to PC), power supply, and power supply cable.

 

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.