Sometimes the fates just pick on people. Or even companies. Digislide's MantaRay LCD projector, an Australian product fashioned in the shape of that sand-scraping sea beast, appeared on the market in September 2006. That same month, Steve Irwin met his untimely end courtesy of a Queensland stingray, thereby linking the design and branding of the projector with the freak death of an Aussie icon.
The timing was terribly unfortunate, especially given the MantaRay is the first product to be released by Digislide. But now that half a year has gone by, perhaps the association with the late Crocodile Hunter won't be the first thing people think when they see the device.
Yep, it does look like a manta ray, but it's a simplified, stylised manta ray that's not too over-the-top. There are a few cute touches -- the vent on the top mimics a ray's gills, and the flared edges make it seem a lovable animal rather than a menacing scourge of the deep. We'd even compare it to a stealth bomber on account of its aerodynamic arrowhead shape (though the royal blue hue is none too subtle).
On the back of the MantaRay are three tiny (too tiny for our fleshy thumbs) unmarked buttons that adjust settings such as volume, brightness, contrast and colour. The centre button needs to be pressed multiple times according to what setting you want to change, and there is no general on-screen menu; the settings just scroll through individually at each press of the middle button.