Technology moves fast these days and printers are no exception; in a never-ending quest to develop new technologies or find new uses for existing ones, many strange and exotic devices are born. Many of them may never find a commercial application but others could well be commonplace in years to come. Here are just a few of the more interesting examples.
Firstly, the 3D printer; the idea of a 3D printer is hardly new but the news that HP is developing its own definitely caught our attention. HP’s printer is being developed in partnership with a company called Stratasys and will be aimed at the mechanical design market. Details are sketchy but it’s a fairly safe bet that it won’t be making its way into the average home or office any time in the near future.
One of the most bizarre creations we’ve come across is a food printer; yes, that’s right - a food printer. The Cornucopia is a 3D printer which mixes foods and flavourings to create “elaborate combinations of food” that are, supposedly, edible and can’t be created by other cooking techniques. It was developed by a couple of boffins at MIT and, quite frankly, it sounds like they’ve got too much time on their hands.
Finally, a printer which might actually be practical and useful for everyday printing – if it works as well as its creators claim. The PrePeat printer is the ultimate in green printing as it doesn’t use toner or ink and the paper can be re-used. Instead, the PrePeat uses specially developed plastic coated paper which can be printed on by its thermal print heads. The print heads erase and re-write the image each time the paper passes through the machine with, it’s claimed, no degradation in quality. If this one ever makes it into the commercial marketplace, it could drastically change the way most of us look at print. Then again, it might not – remember the Sinclair C5? No? Just us, then.
by Anthony Morgan