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Archive for the ‘technology’ Category
3D printing is actively acquires new areas of our life. Recently Radiological Society of North America has reported that 3D printing technology and computed tomography (CT) scans would be used to print precise copies of fossilized dinosaur bones.
There was a time, when the process of creating a book required much more effort than now. In European monasteries, monks rewrote books by hand, and it could take several years to copy one book.
Of course, the progress was achieved with the spreading of woodblock printing. But due to the complication of the process, mostly images (usually religious – very popular those days), cards and patterns were printed by it. The whole page of text or the picture was carved into the surface of a wooden block, inked and than put into a contact with the paper. Before the “printing”, one should have made such blocks for every page in a book. Imagine their pages per minute ratio!
The need for a faster printing technology was great. And on the scene appeared German professional goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg. In 1450 he invented a special matrix for quick molding of movable type (from an alloy of lead, tin and antimony), oil-based ink (better adhered to a metal type) and a wooden printing press (similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period).
The technology allowed to put text on paper or parchment, using printing form. But unlike the previous technologies, metal-cast letters were put in a frame to make up a page, the process appeared to be much faster, and the type was long-lasting, comparing to the wooden. The press was operated manually, and the first book to be copied this way was the Bible. So, the production of a thousand copies of one book became available, and the Modern history began.
Features of the printing press:
- 3,600 pages per working day;
- free-hand illustrations;
- intuitive interface;
- wireless technology;
- low energy consumption.
Samsung Origami, Clip and Mate printer concepts have picked up an award for the best industrial design in the category of the computer equipment at the 2013 International Design Excellence Award competition and may cause a new word in the printer industry. South Korean company has introduced an idea of an eco-friendly casing, folded by a user, which allows to reduce the cost of production of printing devices and to diminish the negative impact on the environment.
An ordinary printer casing consists of many parts of different shape, and the complicated assembly sequence with the use of big number of screws take place. The exterior shell of the Clip is a single piece of a compressed polyethylene (PE), which is easy to fold and which edges are snapped with the clips to assemble the construction. Moreover the leading company designers succeeded to make the catching design.
As the name suggests, casing of Samsung Origami is folded without a clue, and is made of fire- and water-proof cardboard, while the construction itself is highly durable and robust. Such an eco material can be recycled and has a rather low price.
Finelly, meet the Samsung Mate, which provides free choice of printer casing colors. Such devices are planned to supply with the removable printer casing parts of different colors, and the assembly of the unique design is reported to take few minutes.
All the abovementioned models are only concepts, but after some technical improvements, the printers will come into market and they will be 10% cheaper than the same products in the segment.
In a quest for excellence, technological companies try to optimize inventions bulky at first (like PCs and telephones) and make it smaller, more productive and more attractive, the trend, of course, has touched the printer industry.
Following the trend, ZINK Imaging Inc. has invented a new printing technology, which helps to archive the named goals and where no ink, ribbon or cartridge are needed. The secret lies in the special paper with cyan, magenta and yellow dye crystals, which nevertheless looks like other photo paper. Heating and colorizing these crystals during the printing process result in beautiful, deep color and durable photos and images.
Zero Ink Printing Technology has already been used in printing gadgets of Dell and LG and now it represents its own branded line of products, including the Smart App Printer (the hAppy and hAppy+), ink-free zRoll, applications and accessories. The Smart App Printer is a portable wireless printer, which allows to print color high-quality photos from different iPhone, iPad and iPod touch applications, is compatible with Android and Amazon Kindle Fire devices, and works as well with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print.
According to ZINK, these printers will satisfy the needs of small businesses, parents, teachers and are perfect for creative activities (like do-it-yourself or craft) and printing photos from Instagram and Facebook. The exclusive option of The Smart App Printer gives the opportunity to create your own design directly on its touchscreen in ZINK app and easily print it. One could create simple labels (stickers, badges, documents and more) as well as detailed professional designs the size of a business-card or with the help of ZINK Big app – the size of a poster (the image cut in several pieces is printed and than combined in one).
The newly manufactured printer presents one more way of having fun, but it also broadens the technical opportunities for future inventors and further optimizations.
Though the necessity of printing on a paper has diminished with the expansion of mobile devices, this function is still needed. If a printer has an option of Wi-Fi connection, printing is not a problem for any smartphone. But the bigger part of traditional printers doesn’t have a Wi-Fi, and here the new software can greatly help.
One of such programs is Presto (earlier named FingerPrint) from Collobos Software. It supports such operating systems as Android, Chrome and iOS and allows to work with printers, connected to computers with Windows (a version for Macintosh will appear in august 2013). Another – ThinPrint Cloud Printer from Cortado – is already Windows and Macintosh compliant. Both programs are free, but the paid versions with advanced functions are available.
Both Presto and ThinPrint send a print job to a computer, which sends it to a connected printer. As a matter of fact, other brands suggest similar solution, but they have limitations. For example, a system of ePrint from HP are compatible only with HP printers. Apple AirPrint program supports more than 700 printers of different brands, but it is powered only by iOS. Google Cloud Print service is available only for users of Chrome OS browser or mobile applications of Gmail and Google Docs.
As for Presto, it has bigger flexibility. After a quick installation mobile devices detect a printer automatically – and you can send a print job. Furthermore, the program supports Cloud Print service and provides integration with Google products.
ThinPrint is more oriented for office documents printing: there is no function of printing from mail and web-pages and no Cloud Print integration. Although one could print images from iOS or Android photo applications. It’s for a user to decide which program to chose, according to a device functionality and personal needs.
Printers have become an ordinary part of everyday life, but there are people, who have invented some new ways of using printing technology like the following.
Messages and images on the flower-buds
With the Flower Jet printer short messages, images and even greeting cards could be printed on the delicate natural flower petals, not causing any damage to them. One more perfect way to surprise your loved one. In the box with the printer come 5 oil bottles to prepare the flower-bud surface to printing, a book of diverse designs and a cartridge with special ink.
Petit mobile printer
BERG Design Studio, London introduced Little Printer. It’s a tiny black/white printer which is operated from a mobile device. It has an Internet-connection and will print messages from an RSS. Little Printer connects to iPhone or Android through Wi-Fi and outputs news feeds and updates from Social networking services, sms, blog posts, list of errands, point of destinations from foursquare, birthdays or even Sudoku. The design of the printed text is rather funny: the messages are separated by smileys.
The technology of printing on food and cakes is quickly developing. For example a printer-copier Modecor Decojet C2 could make edible images on cakes, pastry and candies using black/white and color cartridges with edible ink. Circuit cake printer is able to cut different shapes, numbers, letters for decorating. It looks like an ordinary office printer, but outputs figurines of gum paste, marzipan, dough, icing and waffle. The device could save several types of designes in memory, and the base cartridge volume is enough for 600 shapes.
You are probably familiar with the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) acronym, which stands for a property of programs to display an image that is close to the final result, whether it’s printed text or Web page. It seems like now the term can apply to printers as design studio Artefact introduced the concept of printer See What You Print or SWYP.
Unlike most modern printers, this model is a fully autonomous device with a large touch screen and computer platform. User prints out any material, the source of which can be a full-pledged personal computer, laptop or desktop, mobile device, smartphone or tablet. However, before actual printing user can edit the image with the simple image editor.
Since the display size of the printer corresponds to A4 paper size, the user sees the actual image that will be printed out. To start printing you only need to touch and slide down with your finger on the screen. Worth mentioning is the ink level indicator: when cartridges run low on ink, the image on the screen fades unevenly, once again confirming the main idea of the concept — “You see what you print.”
How do you like the idea of moving the wall, an integral part of today’s social networks, to the real world? Liat Segal is obviously a fan of social networking who wants to leave messages for friends not only on the virtual wall, but also on quite tangible one. To do so, Liat invented Cellular Wall Printer, a device resembling good old impact printers.
The device is a combination of an Android-smartphone and servo motors, the latter control the movement of each of the seven markers. An “adapter” between the phone and motors is the IOIO programmable board. The Cellular Wall Printer receives messages on a smartphone (SMS, Twitter or Facebook), which it prints on any wall (or surface, for that matter).
The inventor claims that the device copes with printing well even when the printer operator moves. You can get the whole idea by watching this video:
Open3DP team at Washington University have been some pretty impressive results: it successfully printed the artificial bone with the help of 3D-printer. The hardest challenge in this case was the choice of material for bone.
The experiments for 5 weeks with various mixtures of bone meal with other substances, the research team stopped at one of them, which allows you to create a strong “details”. After that, we need only to fill the mixture into the printer and print the desired bone.
Not reported, are there plans to use similar technology in medicine, but the prospects of the method could be very interesting for the creation of artificial prostheses, for example, in dentistry.