The pico projector could be at the forefront of a technological revolution that sees projectors move from the cinema into "every area of our lives", it's been suggested.

Professor Martin Lister, author of Photography in the Age of Electronic Imaging, points to the recent release of the Nikon Sp1000j - a 12-megapixel digital camera with an in-built pico projector - as evocative of a time when viewing photos was a more sociable event than it has become in the age of the social network.

"'Slide nights' were important cultural events in the seventies - they encouraged people to gather," the University of the West of England academic remarks to the Independent. "This new projection technology has the same potential to encourage a social ritual around sharing photos."

However, this does not mark "a step back", he emphasises: "It has an important technological development in the way that it's now so mobile."

Lister believes the immediate future of the pico projector could see seventies-style slide shows spring up in pubs, house parties, weddings, christenings "or even the nightclub".

Pico projectors - from the Spanish word "pico", meaning "very small" - are also known as handheld, pocket or mobile projectors.