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It'll be like having 1000 Johann Gutenbergs every minute! (image from the University of Houston)
Yes, we're gonna have to go right to ludicrous speed... when printing

The printing press, perhaps the greatest invention by modern man, could be taking another leap. A pair of engineers from the College of Judea and Samaria in Israel published their research in a recent edition of the Applied Physics Letters, which details an ink jet print head capable of printing ~1000 pages per minute.

Researchers Moshe Einat and Nissim Einat have designed a print head called JeTrix that is conceptually similar to that of a LCD monitor. The printer head features micro-reservoirs of ink, and each reservoir is responsible for an element on the page, just like how each pixel is represented on an LCD monitor. Traditional ink-jet heads need to move back and forth across paper, but this new concept enlarges the print head to the cover the entire sheet. This allows a page to be printed in just one process, which explains the remarkable printing speed.

This isn’t some idea cooked up in the heads of a couple mad scientists - Moshe Einat and Nissim Einat have already experimented with a 57600 nozzle matrix print head and achieved good results as proof of their design. The implications of JeTrix mean more than just improved printer technology; it could also lead to new ways of gathering and spreading information.

“The future applications of JeTrix will be traditional, such as extremely high-speed printers for industry, offices, and homes. But we also anticipate brand-new, pioneering applications. One example is in-store book printing – where the book is printed instantly for the customer. This could enable small bookshops or even airport kiosks to carry a huge variety of books. There's also personalization – newspapers or journals printed with a customer's name, favorite topics, and suitable advertisements,” Moshe Einat told PhysOrg.com.

With additional funding and R&D, the researchers behind this technology believe that commercial products based on the JeTrix printing head could be available in two years.


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not much of a revolution
By Lord Evermore on 9/24/2006 12:34:18 AM , Rating: 2
Not really revolutionary, seems more like an obvious thing to try (heck it's really nothing but a very advanced technology being used to function the same way a printing press does). It'll never actually become something people have in their homes of course, but probably also never something we even see at kiosks or anything of the like.

Paper handling would be the major problem. The mechanism will fail or jam. As was mentioned, even in places where the high volume would be useful due to the number of users trying to print things, they'd have to come up with ways to separate all those print jobs without the unit filling up a wall, otherwise 1000 pages a minute becomes useless. Plus the number of times that such high volume is needed is a small proportion of the operational time of any printer, so they have to balance the cost of a unit that can do 1000 pages a minute but usually only needs to do 20, with the convenience of the occasional users who might have to wait a couple of minutes before their print job comes out.

Anything that's printed at a kiosk isn't going to feel like a real book. It can't be properly bound, even cheap glued binding, and won't have a decent cover on it. Nobody making purchases at a kiosk is looking to buy an obscure book that wouldn't be on a store shelf anyway. I suppose a kiosk might make a few sales once in a while, but I don't think it would make up for the costs of the hardware and maintenance and supplies and floor space rental. And no matter how well they design it, the thing is GOING to jam every other time somebody tries to print something.

It might however be useful for small-run book publishing. Big publishers would probably find their normal printing process a better value, but if there are smaller publishers then a major printing press might be too expensive, but something like this where they could easily and quickly change what's being printed might be perfect.

Color printing of course would be unlikely with this device. At least good color printing or similar resolutions to plain black. Either the dots for each color would be slightly offset from each other, or you'd have to shift the page or the print head slightly to print each color on top of the previous. In either case, only 1/3 as many "pixels" could fit in the same space.

Any "line printer" design is probably a better value, balancing speed with cost and complexity.




RE: not much of a revolution
By OtakuMax on 9/24/2006 1:19:49 AM , Rating: 2
yes, a line printer is absolutely cool. I have seen one implemented with LED thermal heads. It can print a 3" x 5" color photo in 30s (it could be 4x faster if each color has its own head).

wait... isn't that what the laser print is doing?


RE: not much of a revolution
By Lord Evermore on 9/24/2006 7:42:52 PM , Rating: 2
I almost mentioned laser printers, but they aren't exactly a line printer entirely. The fuser functions in a line printer fashion, since the page contacts it an entire page-width at a time, and the toner drum applies toner to the paper the same way, but the laser that charges the toner drum before the toner is applied moves back and forth over the drum sort of like a dot-matrix with only one wire (or at least isn't a full page width beam).


RE: not much of a revolution
By Larso on 9/24/2006 11:36:49 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think you get how the books are going to be printed. As the inkjet head covers the entire page I imagine the trick is to print the material page by page directly in an already bound book. So when you order, you just pick the desired empty book and the printer will fill in the contents in a moment.

You and other posters focus way too much on the 1000 ppm spec. It just means that the ink for one page can get out of the nozzle in 1/1000 minute, and then its marketed 1000 ppm to make some buzz. Of course you could never create hardware able to handle this speed. It would probably be cheaper to do 10x100 ppm printers.

The real innovation in this is not the speed, but the ability to just "stamp" in the material in all sorts of paper containers, you do not need to have flat paper rolling. And thats really clever.


RE: not much of a revolution
By Lord Evermore on 9/24/2006 7:28:43 PM , Rating: 2
You think they're going to build kiosks with stacks of prebound books, and design a unit that is able to flip the pages one by one as it prints into a pre-bound book, printing on both sides of the page, and that this thing won't break down on every 3rd book, have pages screwed up so only half the page gets printed, not have the book already look like it's used due to creased pages, and the resulting book will be cheaper than a mass-market printing, and people are going to want to stand around waiting for it?

The covers of course will still be crap since they can only be a plain print in black and white unless they ALSO include the complicated color capability with requisite higher printing cost, which only is used for 2 prints at most per 100+ page book.

Yes, the stamping capability is nice, but it's not going to make anything like a kiosk happen. And if we ignore the spec of how quickly a page can be printed, that just eliminates one more market for the technology.


RE: not much of a revolution
By Larso on 9/25/2006 1:41:01 PM , Rating: 2
That clumsy steam engine is never going to do any good. It keeps stalling and to develop it into something usefull is way to expensive... Just forget about it and keep the slaves.

If you focus on the problems with new technologies, nothing is going to happen. The problems you mention; breaking down every 3rd book, screw pages up, cheap looking print - are all problem that, if they even exists, can be fixed with further development. Color printing? Not a big problem, just use multiple stamps for the pages that need it.

"the resulting book will be cheaper than a mass-market printing" Yeah? This is one helluva good argument for the technology. But you are probably talking about the quality impression. If the paperhandling and printing in itself is going to be cheaper with this technology, there would be a larger margin for luxory such as leather bound and paperquality. The printing quality of the stamp will improve as the technology is developed and thus be good enough eventually.

Of course, the technology might just as well get scrapped if there is some unforseen, unfixable problem. But there is no reason to discard it on beforehand.


RE: not much of a revolution
By rushfan2006 on 9/25/2006 2:18:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Of course, the technology might just as well get scrapped if there is some unforseen, unfixable problem. But there is no reason to discard it on beforehand.


Yeah I can see such a problem now....

"Printer of Doom: Officer Worker Sliced to Death By World's Fastest Printer".

You know how fast paper would be launching out of a printer to maintain the raid of 1000 pages per minute (nearly 17 pages per *second*). Especially if you could get it to print that rate on card stock.....ginsu anyone? :)



RE: not much of a revolution
By Larso on 9/25/2006 2:58:42 PM , Rating: 2
So, don't build a 1000 ppm printer. I think this 1000 ppm spec is just marketing buzz for the fact that the proper amount of ink can get out of the nozzles in 1/1000 of a minute, as I wrote in a previous comment.

In that light the "ppm" spec is really not exiting at all, compared to the speed of todays inkjet printer nozzles. They must be way faster than this to allow printing a page line after line in reasonable time.

Whats interesting is that you can print by stamping a page at a time in a prebound book. At whatever speed this will be faster and less complicated than having to print on flat paper and afterwards do the book binding. At least that is my interpretation of the news story.


RE: not much of a revolution
By rushfan2006 on 9/27/2006 11:46:23 AM , Rating: 2
Wow..just wow.....

ok....looking for someone with a SENSE OF HUMOR....

;)


RE: not much of a revolution
By alcalde on 9/27/2006 1:22:33 PM , Rating: 2
"Nobody making purchases at a kiosk is looking to buy an obscure book that wouldn't be on a store shelf anyway."

Books don't have to be obscure to be unavailable at your nearest mega-bookstore, just like movies. Most of what's at bookstores are either huge-sellers or limited to mass-market generic appeal. I have a HUGE Amazon wish list, and most of the books can't be found locally. Many are not obscure, but deal with subjects that aren't mass-marketable: technical areas - data mining, ai, machine learning; horse race handicapping; etc.

I remember several years ago a video rental store near my home had a huge sign in their window, something like "We have 60 copies of Volcano!" My question was, "What if I don't WANT to watch Volcano?" Tough. Older movies got bumped off the shelf to make way for those 60 copies of volcano - happens in computer game stores too. Limited inventory space, so only the latest and greatest gets stocked. Books-on-demand eliminates that problem for books. Also, I can tell from my own field, logistics, that the transportation and warehousing savings alone make a future device based on this technology highly appealing and cost-effective.


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