Projectors aren't always the most exciting gadgets we come across in our line of work, but Sanyo 's latest effort really raises the bar by opening up entirely new areas for projector deployment.

The ¥600,000 (£2,491) LP-XL50 's party piece is its ability to project large images of up to 80 inches onto a surface from just 8cm away.

Anyone who's ever been to school will realise this means an end to the old schoolroom scenario of teacher being blinded by laser-strength light while trying to point out detail on a projected image as kids sneak out the back.

Likes it both ways

On top of that, the XL50 can also project either vertically or horizontally, meaning it could even be fixed to the top of a screen and still project onto it or onto floors, tabletops or any flat surface at all.

Sanyo predicts that the 1024 x 768 resolution device will open up a realm of new uses, including projecting moving images from above onto a school floor for interactive learning, displaying advertising on ceilings or windows and even as a tool for architects or town planners to study plans on a collaborative work surface.

Other functions of note are a vibration-sensitive anti-theft alarm, a quick cool-down routine and a hue adjustment mode that allows images projected onto non-white surfaces - including the greener variety of blackboards - to be displayed correctly.