Panasonic has lifted the lid on its prototype for the world's slimmest 100-lumen laser projector module.

The Japanese manufacturer unveiled the module – calling it an optical imaging unit (OIU) – at the CEATEC 2012 trade fair. It is capable of throwing out a picture of 800x480 pixels, but measures just 7.5mm thick leaving many observers amazed that it could contain any processing power at all.

Also on display at Panasonic’s stand at the event was a scan-type OIU prototype, which is able to throw out images with a resolution of 400x300 pixels. It is believed that Panasonic is looking to shrink this OIU down to be able to fit it into mobile phones.

The 400x300 pixel OIU is also notable as it does not need focusing, unlike conventional projector modules. This is because the light does not travel through an LCD filter, and just one single beam is responsible for producing the image.

Consumer electronics experts who saw the two prototypes on display have said that the devices are still clearly in their early stages of existence, but could be the technology behind a whole new future generation of pico projectors to hit the shelves.