Gizmag is no stranger to pocket-sized image projectors. We've shared the first baby steps from the likes of Microvision and TI, right through to integration in smartphones and even more recently in portable computers. Now the palm-friendly home-theater-sized display thrower has taken another leap forward with the launch of TouchPico, a portable projector-packing Android computer that can transform any flat surface into a big touchscreen display.

The computing heart of the TouchPico runs Android 4.0, with support for native Android apps and full access to Google's Play store, and features a 1.6 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor, 1 GB of DDR3 RAM and 4 GB of internal solid state memory. Users wanting to boost the provided storage can connect a thumb or external drive via USB OTG, though built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and HDMI allows content from a computer to be displayed on the wall and controlled using the Mac or PC peripherals, or from a smartphone or tablet (with displayed content controlled from the smart device's touchscreen).

The device's 0.3-in DLP projector puts out at least 80 lumens, and its RGB LED lamp is reported to have a 20,000 hour usage life. It has a native resolution of 854 x 480 (WVGA), offers a 1,000:1 contrast ratio and a color temperature of 6,500 K. The throw ratio is given as 1.6:1, and the TouchPico is claimed capable of producing a display area of up to 80 diagonal inches. It also caters for touch interaction.

The computer/projector mash-up's IR camera converts input from an emitter in the supplied stylus into onscreen coordinates, essentially transforming a 40 frames per second projected image on a wall or table top into a huge touchscreen display.

The TouchPico's pocket-friendly size (which is described as about the same size as a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, and just a little heavier) means that boardroom presentations need no longer depend on a heavy wired projector that can take an age to set up and use.

It can also double as an interactive whiteboard, take movie entertainment from room to room without risking any back strain moving a big screen TV around, and throw apps and games onto the bedroom wall. The developers say that its main aim, though, is to disrupt the educational market by producing an inexpensive shared resource that brings lessons to life.

Though the device has its own speaker, there's a stereo audio jack for routing audio to headphones or powered speakers. The integrated Li-Pol battery is claimed to last for up to 2.5 hours, and there's an included tripod mount for use with a third party tripod.

The TouchPico is reported ready for manufacturing, but to make that happen the development team has launched a flexible funding campaign on Indiegogo. Backers will need to pledge at least US$309 (over $100 cheaper than the estimated retail price) for a projector and stylus. There's also a developer pledge level which allows for early access to the system.

The funding campaign ends on August 26 and, if all goes according to plan, the first production units will be shipped out during the latter half of October. While pushing toward production of the TouchPico, the team is also working to bring a Pro version into being that will put out 400 lumens, and which is aimed at educators.

Have a look at the pitch video below for an overview of the TouchPico project.

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