Fondren Library Center Lobby
On display through February 25, 2015
We could not imagine our daily life without technology staples such as calculators, computers, high definition televisions, smartphones and many other devices. Much of this modern technology started in the research labs at Texas Instruments with ideas and inventions leading to patents. DeGolyer Library holds the Texas Instruments archival records, which are rich in engineering papers and articles, correspondence, research notes, user manuals, photographs, and artifacts. One example is the Digital Micromirror Device (DMD), an optical semiconductor invented by TI fellow Dr. Larry Hornbeck in 1987. Texas Instruments developed Hornbeck’s invention into the Digital Light Processing technology, which today has a wide array of applications in medical imaging, communications, security and the entertainment industry, among others. The invention has earned TI recognition from the entertainment industry, such as an Emmy for digital projection technology in 1998. This month, Dr. Larry Hornbeck will receive the Academy Award of Merit for his contribution to the cinema projection technology.
Pictured here is one of the first three DMDs manufactured for commercial use in 1991. The device is mounted on a PC board carrier, which has contact pads for 248 connections to the DMD. The device package has a heavy glass cover and a thick metal bottom; it uses a square mirror with torsion fibers on diagonal corners driven by a signal to a DRAM cell. The device is part of the Texas Instruments artifact collection held by the DeGolyer Library.
An exhibit case highlighting Dr. Larry Hornbeck and the DMD is now on display in the Fondren Library Center Lobby.
Contributed by Ada Negraru, DeGolyer Library Archival Assistant