While the global economic crisis has swept aside a number of early innovators in mobile technology, Light Blue Optics finds itself flush with cash this morning. Having secured $15 million in funding, the UK outfit now plans to have its laser-based pico projection engine to OEMs by the end of the year; a move that should result in a tiny retail projector sometime in the first half of 2010. Why should you care? Well, unlike all those LED-based pico projectors now saturating the market, laser-based projectors offer more vivid colors and the ability to auto-focus that mobile image as it's moved about. Even better, LBO has touch-enabled the system allowing users to interact with the projected display. A second generation engine about the size of a sugar cube will ultimately allow the technology to be embedded in mobile devices like cellphones as we're already seeing with LED-based engines. Since the supplied image above totally misrepresents the first generation device, we've embedded a video of the tech, first published in March, after the break. Skip to the 3-minute mark if you want to avoid the pitch.

[Via PicoProjector-info]