Computer chip giant Intel is working on a project to add projectors to mobile phones, which will turn ordinary surfaces into interactive keypads.

This week’s [email protected] event in San Francisco showed off its technology developments, including equipment that can project pictures, videos or documents on to any surface and turn the surface into, say, a keypad for users to type from.

It is working on embedding projectors into phones so that information users view can be transferred from the small phone screen to a larger surface. The prototype showcased to journalists this week would allow people to view their mailbox on a wall rather read it on the small screen, and type replies on a table top.

The idea would allow business users to meet deadlines wherever they were by projecting their phone keypad onto a larger surface to type from, rather than the phone’s tiny keypad.

Intel’s prototype is still too large to fit onto a phone, but researchers are working to shrink the projector and camera that were used to make other surfaces touch-sensitive.

The projector development was one of around 20 new devices that Intel is currently working on that were shown off at the tenth anniversary event.