Awareness is Everything: June 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Printing with Zero Ink

As I was reading a magazine today, I came across an article about a company called Zink. I have never heard of it before, so it caught my attention. I realized the name stands for Zero Ink – And it means exactly that. No Ink. No Ink to print pictures or any other kind of graphics? What happened to make this possible? When was there ever NOT a need for ink cartridges, toners or ink ribbons? Soon everyone will have a different kind of printer – one that could even fit in your pocket. This is BIG news for printers everywhere and a HUGE breakthrough in printing technology.

As my curiosity grew, I started to read more about Zink. I found out that the key to the digital printing process involves a special kind of paper. A magical paper, if you will. This magical paper has an advanced composite material with cyan, yellow, and magenta dye crystals embedded within it. Okay, well that’s cool, but how does it work? Well, I read on and found out that they’ve created a “device” that uses heat to activate the crystals thus revealing your image. What’s great about this “device” is the fact that it can be extremely small because you don’t need the room you’d normally need for ink cartridges or ribbons. This means that it could soon be installed on any or all your hand-held devises. You could get prints no matter where you are.

If you’re a big print buff like me, this new Zink product just totally blew your mind. Just the thought of never having to buy another expensive ink cartridge or toner again just sent a series of chills down my back. Zink will totally change how we print and even where we’re able to print. Need your airline tickets? No problem. Print them from your phone enabled with the Zink device and *bam* you’ve got it right there on the spot. With Zink, you have instant gratification and “Zero Hassles”. I forgot to mention that these Zink devices are not affected by gravity. WHAAAAA? This means that you could mount a Zink device on the wall next to your workspace and print right off the wall. The Zink paper is all you need to buy and can also be finished with an adhesive back. I'm not sure exactly how much the paper will cost, but it’s the only supply you need, and it’s not light sensitive so it doesn’t need special storing conditions. The Zink device also prints in a single pass at a consistent speed and quality regardless of the print width. Wow. That deserves a standing ovation in my opinion.

Probably the most important fact about this product is that it leaves absolutely NO waste stream. If normal printers produce 100% waste (ie: used ink cartridges, used toners, etc), then these Zink printers produce 0%. The photo itself is the only artifact of the printing process. I’m still not sure if the paper itself is actually recyclable– I’d be interested to know if they plan on it being recyclable.

So, I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these printers. They sound like they are so effortless and fun to use. So where do I buy one, you ask? Actually, Zink paper and Zink enabled products are in the final stages of development, so they aren’t available in any stores….. yet. You can, however visit their website – www.zink.com - and click on the “where to buy” to enter your information so that they can notify you about when and where you’d be able to buy and enjoy the “magic of Zink”.

Please, after looking at the product and visiting their website, share with me what you think of this new innovative way to print. Would you use it? Do you think it will revolutionize printing? If the whole world is trying to go “green” how does facilitating personal printing help? In making printing easier, is it encouraging people to print stuff they don’t really need thus creating waste that may or may not be recyclable? Do you think that instead they should be working on a technology that makes paper obsolete?
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