Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Portable Inkless Printer

Although digital photography reigns supreme nowadays, there are still a lot of people who miss the old days of paper photos, especially those instant ones provided by
Polaroid. And it seems that those days might once again come back, albeit adapted to the modern technology, since a company called ZINK has announced the development of a pocket-sized printer which can cough up photos without using a drop of ink.

According to the company, the most important component of the whole printing process is the special photo-paper developed by the company, an “advanced composite material with dye crystals embedded inside and a protective polymer layer outside”. This “paper” is initially clear, but when subjected to the action of the heated “printing” head, the crystals activate and create the desired image. Thus, you can get a high quality image in almost no time, and if some colors or details are not exactly satisfactory, you can always print the picture again, since the paper is recyclable.

These very innovative devices will be able to print out 2- x 3-inch photos and will be available in 2 variants: 1 standalone unit and another nit which, according to the company, can be "embedded" in just about any device, ranging from mobile phones to digital cameras. According to the Engadget website, the standalone format will be available for $99 and the camera / printer hybrid will be available for $199. A very interesting financial aspect related to this device is the fact that a pack of one hundred sheets will cost just around $19.95, which is not too much, if you're a hardcore fan of paper photos, that is. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether these things will take off or not, as digital photography is too powerful to overthrow right now.



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