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Pocket projector gets an early screening

3M is close to unveiling a handheld digital video projector, according to Popular Science, which recently tinkered with an early version of the device.

3M MPro110 portable digital video projector
The MPro110 from 3M

It looks like 3M is trying to bring back the good old-fashioned vacation slideshow.

The company is reportedly close to rolling out a miniature, portable digital video projector, the likes of which could be used to project digital photos, PowerPoint presentations, or cat-on-a-treadmill videos wherever you see fit.

The lucky ducks over at Popular Science got an early look at the MPro110 and report that after plugging it into a DVD player, they were able to project a movie up to 11 inches wide on various pieces of furniture, walls, and co-workers' body parts. The picture fared much better (and bigger) in a dark room.

Apparently 3M had planned to officially announce the projector in a few weeks, but an overly enthusiastic German division of the company let the cat out of the bag a little early with a press release.

Now, my German is not so gut, but according to PopSci, the MPro will cost $359. And a video on the 3M site indicates it will have the ability to hook up to a laptop, digital camera, iPod, and other mobile devices (a little Mario Kart racing action, perhaps?). At that price and with that kind of hookup capability, the MPro would be a viable option for taking business presentations on the road or even filling in as a less-expensive home theater device (though speakers aren't included).

Of course, when it comes to projecting video, size does matter. And the 11-inch width PopSci cites in lighted conditions just isn't going to cut it for some purposes, namely presentations in the average office conference room. But the technology seems like it's off to a great start--even if it's not ready to supplant larger, more powerful projectors quite yet.

And that's news worth celebrating with a Post-it note party.