Hitachi Consumer Electronics Co Ltd developed what it claims is the industry's smallest, lightest and shortest-focus front projector and showcased it at Ceatec Japan 2010.
At the trade show, the company had demonstrations of (1) projecting images from the projector being hung from the ceiling and (2) combining the projector with a whiteboard and projecting images from the back side.
The new projector can project an 80-inch image from a distance of 56cm. The former projector that Hitachi Consumer Electronics commercialized in 2007 requires a distance of 62.6cm to project an 80-inch image.
The new projector measures 345 x 303 x 85mm and weighs less than 4kg while the one commercialized in 2007 measures 397 x 356 x 131mm and weighs 5.8kg.
"The volume and the weight were reduced by about 44% and 34%, respectively," the company said.
In the aim of reducing the focal distance, Hitachi Consumer Electronics employed a locally-convex free-form surface mirror and two free-form surface lenses for the optical system to reduce a trapezoidal distortion (when an image is projected from a short distance) and prevent the staggering of a focal length. Also, it reduced the size of the optical system by changing its design.
The optical system of the new projector consists of 11 glass lenses, three aspherical plastic lenses, two free-form surface lenses and a free-form surface mirror. Its total length is 165mm. The optical system of the former projector consists of six glass lenses, two aspherical plastic lenses, two free-form surface lenses and a free-form surface mirror and has a total length of 284mm.
Hitachi Consumer Electronics will release the new projector in the European and US markets in October 2010. Its pixel count, brightness and contrast ratio are 1,280 x 800, 2,500lm and 2,000:1, respectively. Its price has not been determined yet.
The company is planning to further reduce the size and the weight of the projector.
"To enhance its portability, we aim to reduce the weight to 2kg or less," it said.