Feeds

Boffins demo re-usable paper and waterjet printers

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

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?