Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Kate Greene

A View from Kate Greene

What Can an Inkless Printer Do?

A contest encourages entrants to find new uses for Zink’s inkless printing technology.

  • June 24, 2009

Zink, a company that has developed a portable inkless printer, will today announce the finalists for its Zero Boundaries design contest. People and companies have been competing to find the best way to make use of Zink’s inkless printing technology–we’ve written about Zink here and here–and I had the opportunity to participate in judging the competition.

As a judge, I got to see all of the 75 entries. Many designers proposed laptops and tablets with integrated printers, business and flashcard printers, and instant cameras with integrated printers. A number of participants thought that small Zink printers would be useful for making large-scale images, such as wallpaper designs and posters. Some concepts included a function that allowed the printer to crawl over a space, heating the surface coated with the same heat-sensitive crystals found in Zink paper. By far, the most unexpected submission was an acrylic nail printer in which fake nails are coated with Zink’s heat-sensitive crystals.

Polaroid might have stopped making its instant film, but Zink, a spinoff of the company, is trying to find its place as a maker of portable instant printers. The challenge isn’t straightforward: today, most people share photos digitally, on the Web or via e-mail and Twitter, and they print pictures only when a special reason warrants it.

Zink launched its competition in April with hopes of spurring interest in its technology, highlighting up-and-coming designers, and inspiring Zink partners to create interesting products. The contest had two components: one called for a product that would appeal to youth, and the other called for a product that rethinks printing completely. All of the finalists can be viewed here, and the public can vote on a favorite. The winners will be announced on July 15.

Cut off? Read unlimited articles today.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.