Inkless 'Zink' Printer Fits in Your Pocket

January 29, 2008 by Lisa Zyga weblog
Polaroid ZINK printer
Polaroid´s Mobile Photo Printer uses ZINK ("zero-ink") technology to print 2 x 3 color photos. Credit: Polaroid.

If you've ever wished you could print photos directly from your cell phone, a new mobile photo printer from Polaroid is coming that can do just that. Perhaps even more intriguing is the technology the printer uses: it´s inkless.

Designed by ZINK ("Zero-Ink") Imaging, the ZINK printer concept doesn´t require ink cartridges or even dye rolls. Instead, it incorporates dye crystals inside the specially patented ZINK paper, secured underneath a glossy protective layer. When heat from the printer is applied to the cyan, yellow, and magenta crystals in the paper, the appropriate crystals are "melted" to release color.

While ZINK Imaging has developed the technology (with more than 100 patents and counting), the company is partnering with others to build and release the actual products. The first products that will feature ZINK technology will be Polaroid´s Mobile Photo Printer and Integrated Digital Camera and Printer. Cell phones and cameras can be directly connected to the Mobile Photo Printer via Bluetooth or USB, providing 2 x 3 inch prints. (The printer itself measures just 4.7- by 2.8- by 0.9-inches.) The Mobile Photo Printer should be released sometime this spring, and Newsweek reports that it will sell for $150.

ZINK has recently announced partnerships with three other companies: Alps Electric Co, Ltd., Foxconn Technology Group, and TOMY Company, Ltd. Most likely, future incarnations using ZINK technology will offer larger paper sizes (4 x 6 inches and beyond). As PC Magazine points out, ZINK also has the capabilities of creating ZINK printers embedded into not just cameras, but also cell phones and notebook computers, without adding much weight or bulk.

ZINK's goals for its printers are to provide high quality photos at an affordable price, while incorporating the convenience due to its new technology. In the future, the company hopes to offer something for everyone.

More information: www.zink.com

Explore further: Gadgets: Pandigital printer; Zagg's Invisible Shields; Kodak Easyshare camera

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LearmSceince
5 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2008
So how much is the paper, and how stable are the prints?

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