Hollywood Hands Engineer an Oscar

Posted Saturday, Feb 14, 2015 by Jeff Safire

TI’s Hornbeck wins for micro-mirror DLP chip

Hollywood awarded an Oscar to an engineer who made what may be the world’s smallest — and most accurate — projector.

Several engineers crossed the Dolby Theater stage in Hollywood Feb. 7, accepting awards for technology that has changed the look and feel of cinema. Among them will be Texas Instruments engineer Larry Hornbeck, who will receive an Academy Award of Merit for his work in improving color and projection in digital films through optical semiconductors.

Hornbeck invented the digital micromirror device (DMD) that serves as the basis of the DLP cinema chip used in the majority of theatres across the US. The DLP cinema chip is used for high speed, efficient, and reliable spatial light modulation in projectors, resulting in richer colors that mimic actual sight.

“I was absolutely overwhelmed,” Hornbeck said of his Oscar nomination. The Texas resident also won an Emmy for his micro-mirrors in 1998, and plans to put his 8 pound statuette next to it – after he gets the statue its own seat on the airplane home from California.
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