It started about five years ago, when HP realized that the precision technology used in its Officejet Pro X printhead might have applications in the life sciences space. The Officejet Pro X has a sophisticated printhead that's able to spew out tiny drops of ink for ultra high-resolution printing. According to Joe Dody, business manager of specialty printing systems, HP's first printer, the "Thinkjet," had 12 nozzles with drop volumes of 220 picoliters each. (One picoliter is one-trillionth of a liter. For scale, think: an average raindrop contains several hundred thousand picoliters.) Photo-quality printing demands drops of less than 10 picoliters. The Officejet Pro X has a sophisticated page-wide print bar that features a fixed inkjet printhead, which images the full width of the paper path in one operation and contains 42,240 nozzles jetting drops of 6 picoliters each, one at a time through individual nozzles. "We spent a lot of money and time getting the drops that small," Dody says.