Researchers from Chiba University and Warsaw University of Technology have created a lensless zoomable projector based on holographic technology.

The projector is the first of its kind, overcoming many difficulties that have hindered previous attempts at creating a lensless holographic projector.

Most standard projectors rely on laser and LED light sources, spatial light modulators and image lens systems to create projected images. A movable zoom lens is then used to enable a zoom function for individual and combined elements.

Previous research has lead to holography as an alternative to classic optics as a means of avoiding lenses. However, a movable and adjustable zoom function has been difficult to achieve using this technology.

By harnessing a principle known as the Fresnel diffraction, the researchers have successfully created a lensless zoom system on a holographic projector, opening up a new area in both the home and professional projector market.

The researchers also plan to develop a colour version of the projector and enhance the current version to reduce laser speckle on the picture. As well as this, they are working to reduce the system from its current 160 x 80 x 40mm footprint.

Researcher Tomoyoshi Shimobaba from Chiba University estimates that holographic projector technology could be commercialised in the next five to ten years.