In 2000, one of Europe's largest rubber-stamp companies approached Alex Breton, an engineer from Stockholm, Sweden, for product ideas. Instead of dreaming up a new stamp, he designed the PrintBrush, an 8.8-ounce handheld gadget that uses inkjets, computer-mouse-like optics and navigation software to print uploaded images and text on any flat surface, including paper, plastic, wood and even fabric.
Conventional printers move paper through the machine in large part because it's the only way to accurately track the position of the page relative to the print head. With such constraints, Breton realized, a printer could never be narrower than its paper—unless the inkjets had an entirely new way to navigate across the page.
It took less than two years to develop the first prototype but nearly a decade more to get it right. With each new version, Breton and the team of optics engineers and other experts he recruited refined the navigation system, most recently replacing LED-based sensors with the lasers. They also added color, which required writing a set of algorithms to quickly formulate the ink combinations needed to produce the appearance of 16 million different shades.
By early next year, a PrintBrush with a built-in camera for instant photo printing will hit the market and officially claim the title of world's smallest printer. Breton will release an even smaller model, the A4, shortly thereafter.
Inventor: Alex Breton
Time: 11 years
Cost: $10 million
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I just heard a rumor that this amazing little gadget will be available for pre-order soon at Kickstarter.com
Hope it really will be, because it seems really cool!!
Instant temp body-tattoos are one of the first ways it will be used, I betcha!
But how BIG will it go ? U talking wall posters or wallets ?
Graffiti Artists will have a field day with this invention.
A nice idea, but what are the practical applications for this device?
I certainly wouldn't want to print a document(s) with this thing. Maybe it could be used for printing shipping labels directly onto the packaging.
I doubt that the resolution will be fine enough that I would want to print decent quality photographs with it.
Anyone else have ideas?
Dude! His little demo in the video totally used my cheetah artwork! Now I have to go back in my email archives and see if I ever gave him permission to use it...
Crazy that I randomly surfed to this page and saw it...
What an excellent device. I can see this being used universally.
Just think if you want to give someone a copy of a page you have stored. You just find some blank paper and wave it over it.
Then you put your favorite pictures on your wall by printing directly on the wall.
How about advertising, where you print the latest offers on a roll of paper and put them on a sandwich board, door etc.
How about an industrial application, where street advertising would be simplified by the signs having a roll of blank paper instead of pasting up the posters. Just roll out some more blank paper, tear off the old advert then wave a downloaded advert on to the blank, instead of shipping posters from the printers.
How about creating your own T-Shirts by creating/obtaining an image, put it in the device then wave it over the shirt (using the right ink)
How about waving it over an envelope to put your return address on it?
How about creating a diagram on a white board by selecting an object on the printer (like a server icon or a database icon) then waving that over part of the white board (using erasable ink)
There are so many applications for this device, it's incredible. If the company went public, I'd put a ton into their shares before product release.
Great idea! I'll buy it the second it comes out.
Your letting your skepticism cloud your imagination as well as your reading comprehension. This article gave a few examples...
With the correct ink types, One can print on t-shirts, cars, model kits, walls, the list goes on.