Panasonic launches world's thinnest laser projector module

Panasonic OIU
The future of projectors?

A prototype of the world's slimmest 100-lumen laser projector module has been spotted in Japan.

The laser projector module (or OIU, as Panasonic prefers to call it) throws out a picture at 800x480-pixels. That's not too impressive, but considering the device is just 75mm thin, it's a wonder Panasonic could fit any processing power in there at all.

Also on display was a scan-type OIU, which manages a resolution of just 400x300-pixels. Again, it's far from finished, especially considering Panasonic wants to shrink it down and install it in mobile phones.

But this tech is quite interesting. It's different from normal projectors in that it doesn't need focussing. The light doesn't travel through an LCD filter like regular projectors, and instead is just one single laser beam producing the image.

Early days

It's still early days with this tech. And as ever with a new technology, the devices are too bulky at the moment (relative to when they'll be on sale, anyway) and crazily expensive.

But if the resolution improves and the price comes down, we could see a whole new era of pico projectors hit the shelves.

Samsung is the only company to have launched a mobile with a built-in projector in the UK. The Samsung Galaxy Beam is a neat piece of kit, with great battery life and a decent camera. But it's too expensive, and the projector really struggles in daylight.

Will projectors one day be as common as cameras in phones? We'll have to wait and see.

Via Engadget

Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.