Projectors could be a feature of smartphones in the future thanks to an innovative new lens.

The Alps company has developed the FLG3 Series lens, which measures a tiny 1mmx1mmx0.9mm. The creation is not entirely new, but it does offer a significantly improved level of coupling efficiency at 73 per cent, compared to earlier models which clocked up around 68 per cent efficiency.

At the moment, it is necessary to carry a separate pico projector if you want a small device for use on the go. But by improving this efficiency, the manufacturer can create a lens which consumes less power and emits less heat, making in more plausible for inclusion in a smartphone

This could allow people to display photos, videos and presentations all from one device, without having to transport separate gadgets.

The lens's main function is the transmission of data along high-speed, fibre optic networks. But by optimising the way in which light travels through the lens, Alps can also look into using it in projectors. However, the resolution from such a tiny device is uncertain and manufacturers still need to tackle the issue of how to include powerful LEDs in a small device to enable the use of the FLG3 as a projector.