ZINK: Printing Without Ink
A company called ZINK recently demonstrated a new way of printing that does not require ink (see video). Unlike the existing technologies that use thermal printheads to transfer color to paper, the new media has the color embedded in it, in the form of dye crystals that are clear at room temperature. The paper is fairly affordable, at 20 to 25 cents for a 2 x 3 inch sheet. The eco-efficient aspect of this technology is that it eliminates wasteful ink packaging and discarded ink cartridges. ZINK says the paper is non-toxic and "recyclable". The company claims it can make ultraportable printers that can fit in a human hand or be integrated into digital cameras and cell phones.ZINK has plans for two products by the end of the year: a stand-alone portable printer and a printer integrated into a digital camera, both producing two-by-three-inch pictures. While the printer can be designed into tiny gadgets, it can also be integrated into larger electronics, and Herchen expects that within the next few years the printing technology could also show up in computer towers, laptop computers, and even home television sets.