Taking a Closer Look at Two of Gartner’s Top Technology Trends for 2016

In early October, during the Gartner Symposium/IT Expo, the company released its “Top Technology Trends for 2016” in which it outlined what it considers the most pressing strategic opportunities for next year.

DLP® technology is playing an important role in two of these areas – 3D printing materials and advanced machine learning – and we’ll be taking a closer look at both to see how TI is pushing these trends forward.

3D Printing Materials

The first trend in which DLP is taking a leadership position is in the area of 3D printing. Though not exactly new, as companies explore 3D printing as a method for building everything from rocket parts to body parts, the benefits of this application are coming to the forefront.  And these two industries, aerospace and automotive, aren’t likely to experiment with manufacturing methods if they do not show significant promise.

The same DLP technology that has become the industry standard for projection applications is also a key component in stereolithographic 3D printing, or the process of curing a photosensitive resin using ultraviolet light.

The DLP® LightCrafter™ 4500 development module is ideally suited for these types of applications by providing a light steering solution with a powerful combination of resolution, brightness, and programmability in a small form factor. Developers can create, store and display high-speed pattern sequences through the DLP LightCrafter 4500 USB-based application programming interface (API) and easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI).

Additionally, the DLP9000 and DLP6500 digital micromirror devices (DMDs) are helping drive 3D printing thanks to extremely high resolution rates that make it possible for objects to be fabricated within short periods of time. The recently launched DLP9000X chipset, consisting of the DLP9000X DMD and the DLPC910 controller, leads to faster printing speeds by curing entire layers of an object at one time.

In 3D printing applications, this high-resolution DLP technology enables bigger build sizes, fine feature resolution and faster build times.

Advanced Machine Learning

The second trend predicted by Gartner is advanced machine learning, where devices are able to turn data into decisions without human intervention. 3D machine vision is a great example of this, where optical analysis turns optical scans into fast and accurate measurements. DLP technology is being used in structured light applications to project specific patterns of light onto an object and then generate 3D point clouds through synchronization of the projected patterns with image captures from camera or sensors. These 3D point clouds are then processed to output the 3D object’s surface area, volume and feature size.

This is ideal for a wide range of applications that can benefit from the non-contact, highly accurate 3D data in real-time such as inline inspection of automotive parts. The DLP9000X chipset, mentioned above for its use in 3D printing, can also be used for machine vision. It is equipped with more than 4 million micromirrors and delivers streaming pixel speeds of more than 60 gigabits per second for real-time, continuous, high bit-depth patterns.

In addition to the chips themselves, TI offers great resources to help ensure developer success: