A German engineering student has developed new technology that could make mini-projectors even smaller.

Marcel Sieler worked on the technology – which completely reworks the conventional optical structure – while writing his thesis at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena, Germany.

The advancement could prove revolutionary in the projector industry, which has exploded in recent years, but is continually striving to make models more streamlined and handier.

It is estimated that in excess of 45 million units will sell worldwide by 2012.

Sieler's thesis, entitled 'Design and realization of an ultraslim array projector', developed the use of a number of regularly ordered microlenses as the projection lens, as opposed to the currently used single imaging channel.

Because of the many channels, the construction length of the entire system can be significantly reduced, without diminishing the luminosity. It uses a high-performance LED as the light source.

Using his skills in optical design, microsystem technology and project management, Sieler developed it first in theory and then in practice in laboratory experiments, continually testing the system for its optical performance capacity.

Within nine months Sieler produced his first prototypes, which were able to display the immense potential of the concept. Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has now been able to apply for a basic patent for the system.