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Advances in Printer Ink

Summary #

A recent IEEE Spectrum featured an article about an advance in ink-less printing called ZINK.

CMYK circles

(Image: Wikimedia)

Commentary #

As consumers, we're familiar with the high price of ink. If you think gasoline is expensive, how's $8,000 a gallon for HP ink? And it doesn't help that many printers have been "designed" to produce false out-of-ink messages.

There have been several attempts at lowering the cost of printer ink. In 2007, Kodak introduced a printer that used their "pigment-based ink" and was supposed to revolutionize the printer world. I'm not sure how successful, they've been, but it put the issue of ink pricing at the forefront of many consumers minds.

The most recent attempt at overcoming printer ink pricing comes from a Polaroid spin-off called ZINK (for Zero-ink) that has been working for decades on creating colorless, ink-less paper that uses localized heat to change the color at each point. Several companies have cameras that also print 2x3 inch photos using ZINK: the Polaroid PoGo, Dell Wasabi, and the TOMY xiao.

It's fascinating to see the old fallen giants Kodak and Polaroid wake from their slumber and try to compete in their former markets adapting to the digital realities of today. If their technologies advance and expand, we may see a disruption in the printer market similar to that of the '80s.

Updates #

2013-03-07 #

  • Updated link about Kodak's All-in-One printers.

2023-11-28 #

  • Updated broken links.