Feeds

Boffins demo re-usable paper and waterjet printers

Most of what you print gets tossed so why not use the paper again?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Most of what gets spat out of office printers is read once and consigned to the recycling, so why do prints have to be permanent? One answer to that question is that they don't – and a water-jet printing technology published in Nature Communications suggests a way to make printing vastly cheaper.

The idea is that by treating paper with a water-sensitive dye, the ink in an inkjet printer can be replaced with H2O, with benefits both for the environment and the pocket.

Right now, the technique can only print one hue at a time, depending on the chemical used to treat the paper.

According to the abstract of their paper, the Chinese-American collaborators led by Jilin University chemistry professor Sean Xiao-An Zhang believe “the prints can be erased and rewritten dozens of times with no significant loss in colour quality”.

Using paper treated with oxazolidine, the water jet changes the colour of the chemical to produce a print which fades in about a day, depending on temperature – and the paper can be re-used rather than being disposed of.

According to AFP, “the print fades away within about 22 hours at temperatures below 35˚C (95 Fahrenheit) as the water evaporates”.

While the chemical treatment makes the paper slightly more expensive, use of water instead of ink in the printer makes it much cheaper overall, Zhang claims, and the only change needed to the printer is to replace what's in the cartridge.

Normal four-colour printing isn't yet possible, because the molecules the researchers have come up with only print in blue, magenta, gold and purple, and the paper can only be printed in one colour at a time. The researchers say their next step will be to create a printer that pre-heats paper, so instead of waiting for a print to fade, a printed sheet can be erased and reprinted in the printer.

The Register suspects, however, that printer makers won't be delighted to have punters pouring water into their cartridges. The (in)famous technique of DRM-locking inkjet printers to refuse old or “non-original” cartridges is probably a bigger fly in Zhang's ointment than the toxicity tests he told AFP are now underway. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
NOKIA - Not FINNished yet! BEHOLD the somewhat DULL MYSTERY DEVICE!
N1 mini-'slab to plop into crowded pond next year
The Nokia ENIGMA THING and its SECRET, TERRIBLE purpose
Finnish firm coyly exposes mystery product – and WE NO what it is
Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it
Court pops open cans of worms and whup-ass in Fitbit case
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Nokia's N1 fondleslab's HIDDEN BRILLIANCE: The 'Z Launcher'
Sugarcoating Android's Lollipop makes tab easier to swallow
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.