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A projector or image projector is an optical device that projects an image (or moving images) onto a surface, commonly a projection screen. Most projectors create an image by shining a light through a small transparent lens, but some newer types of projectors can project the image directly, by using lasers. A virtual retinal display, or retinal projector, is a projector that projects an image directly on the retina instead of using an external projection screen.

The most common type of projector used today is called a video projector. Video projectors are digital replacements for earlier types of projectors such as slide projectors and overhead projectors. These earlier types of projectors were mostly replaced with digital video projectors throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, but old analog projectors are still used at some places. The newest types of projectors are handheld projectors that use lasers or LEDs to project images. Their projections are hard to see if there is too much ambient light.

Movie theaters used a type of projector called a movie projector, nowadays mostly replaced with digital cinema video projectors.

The solar microscope,[29] was employed in experiments with photosensitive silver nitrate by Thomas Wedgwood in collaboration with Humphry Davy in making the first, but impermanent, photographic enlargements. Their discoveries, regarded as the earliest deliberate and successful form of photography, were published

The Opake Microsc[o]pe, not only magnifies the natural Appearance or Size of Objects of every Sort, but at the ſame time throws ſuch a Quantity of Solar Rays upon them, as to make all their Colours appear vaſtly more vivid and ſtrong than to the naked Eye; and their Parts ſo expanded and diſtinct upon a fixed Screen, that they are not only viewed with the utmoſt Pleaſure, but may be drawn with the greateſt Eaſe by any ingenious Hand."[28]

The solar microscope,[29] was employed in experiments with photosensitive silver nitrate by [29] was employed in experiments with photosensitive silver nitrate by Thomas Wedgwood in collaboration with Humphry Davy in making the first, but impermanent, photographic enlargements. Their discoveries, regarded as the earliest deliberate and successful form of photography, were published in June 1802 by Davy in his An Account of a Method of Copying Paintings upon Glass, and of Making Profiles, by the Agency of Light upon Nitrate of Silver. Invented by T. Wedgwood, Esq. With Observations by H. Davy in the first issue of the Journals of the Royal Institution of Great Britain.[30][31]

Swiss mathematician, physicist, astronomer, logician and engineer Leonhard Euler demonstrated an opaque projector, now commonly known as an episcope, around 1756. It could project a clear image of opaque images and (small) objects.[32]

French scientist Jacques Charles is thought to have invented the similar "megascope" in 1780. He used it for his lectures.[33] Around 1872 Henry Morton used an opaque projector in demonstrations for huge audiences, for example in the Philadelphia Opera House which could seat 3500 people. His machine did not use a condenser or reflector, but used an oxyhydrogen lamp close to the object in order to project huge clear images.[34]

Solar camera

Known equally, though later, as a solar enlarger, the solar camera is an ancestor of the darkroom Jacques Charles is thought to have invented the similar "megascope" in 1780. He used it for his lectures.[33] Around 1872 Henry Morton used an opaque projector in demonstrations for huge audiences, for example in the Philadelphia Opera House which could seat 3500 people. His machine did not use a condenser or reflector, but used an oxyhydrogen lamp close to the object in order to project huge clear images.[34]

Known equally, though later, as a solar enlarger, the solar camera is an ancestor of the darkroom enlarger, and was used, mostly by portrait photographers and as an aid to portrait artists, in the mid-to-late 19th century[35] to make photographic enlargements from negatives using the Sun as a light source powerful enough to expose the then available low-sensitivity photographic materials. It was superseded in the 1880s when other light sources, including the incandescent bulb, were developed for the darkroom enlarger and materials became ever more photo-sensitive.[29][36]

20th century to present day