Awesome Futuristic Technology: 17 Cool Concept Printers

June 25, 2010, By Dorina Graham

In the future, printers may do much more than print documents or photos. Some will be eco-friendly, some will be space-saving, some seem now to be far out and freaky glimpses into awesome futuristic technology. These are 17 of the coolest concept printer designs that could be real in a few years.

Pencil Printer


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When innovative designers like Hoyoung Lee set their mind to something, then most anything can be recycled. That includes those stubby pencils that have no other purpose. The Pencil Printer concept grinds up stubby pencils, using pencil powder instead of ink cartridges. It can write (print) and be erased so paper can be recycled.

REENK Ballpen Printer


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Designers Hyo Sun Ahn and Min Koung want to recycle pens by using them as the printer “ink.” REENK is a good idea as far as the recycling part, but it might still need some work. It seems difficult to imagine that the ink flowing out of the pens would be enough for printing purposes.

Organic Protein Printer


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Yes, designer Juan Carlos Garzón O’s Organic Protein Printer looks like a blender at first glance. However, the idea was inspired by a group of scientists who were able to boot up synthetic genome in a cell for the first time ever. In the way animals consume food and water, transforming them into cells, this printer would metabolize protein liquid and create patterns on the paper such as text or printed photographs.

Prepeat Inkless & Tonerless Rewritable Printer

The Prepeat printer uses no ink or toner cartridges, nor does it use normal paper. Instead the rewritable “Pet film” (plastic) sheets are the “paper” but can be reused up to 1,000 times per sheet. The printer head works by thermal heat. This eco-printer is meant to reduce costs as well as paper consumption. In fact, one of the options on the printer is the “erase & print” button.

RITI Printer Design Concept


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From the Greener Gadgets competition comes the RITI printer. This design concept by Jeon Hwan Ju takes your coffee or tea dregs, plus a little elbow grease, and turns them into an eco-friendly alternative to conventional ink. Place the coffee or tea dregs into the ink cartridge with some water, insert a piece of paper, and manually move the cartridge back and forth in the slot. RITI uses kinetic energy, instead of electricity. When the “dreg” cartridge is empty, it can be added to a compost bin.

Stick Pop


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Designers Jihun Kang, Youngho Lee, Jieun Lee and Changsu Lee all put their heads together to come up with the Stick Pop portable printer. It’s not meant for large printing jobs, but for portability. Due to the small size, it can easily be toted around and always be on hand for emergencies. If you spill coffee on a document right before a presentation, Stick Pop can be plugged by USB to a laptop to print and save the day. An OLED screen on the device displays the printing status.

Prinitor


tuvie

The Prinitor by designer Dong Min Park is both a thin LCD monitor and a fully operational printer. The concept would save space that a traditional printer would require. The monitor features touch buttons, including a photo control button to calibrate the image. Another innovative feature of the concept is the ability to print the face in front of it, like a mirror with printing functions.The paper and printer toner is hidden away in the backside of the monitor.

iMo Foto Frame Printer


mimomonitors

Mimo Monitors designed this 800 by 600 pixel display, a digital photo frame, which also can function as a stand-alone printer. The iMo Foto Frame Printer supports JPEG photo format up to 16 megapixels. Mimo recommends additional uses like: “park your Instant Messaging windows, keep your application palettes on it, use it as a digital picture frame, as a dedicated stock ticker display, put your gaming maps on it.” iMo has moved past concept design to working and selling units.

Rapid Prototype Machine – 3D Concepts

How would you like to print in 3-D? This 3D Concepts Printer was developed by the Walla Walla University School of Engineering.

Mini-Giant


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Designer Paula Adina Sumalan replaced the ink cartridges and ribbons with a heating system that can radically change shape. Mini Giant is a robotic printer concept that self-drives itself over a ZINK Paper sheet. Placed on the upper left corner, Mini Giant automatically moves on the paper surface to print a large format poster.

Polaroid Movie Printer


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Designer Kim Hyun Joong was inspired by the public’s obsession for home videos and technology. The Movie Polaroid Camera Printer combines the instant gratification that Polaroid gave us with the ability to print movies and sound on a flexible display. “The concept is a combination of analogue Polaroid film and digital touch technology and contains a built-in movie printer, which immediately “prints” the footage after the user has filmed it.”

Embossing Braille Printer


Danni Luo

Designer Danni Luo created the Embossing Braille Printer concept. It is intended to assist visually impaired people in distinguishing objects of similar shape with life-saving implications, such as medication bottles. To print a label, a person speaks into the wider end of the printer and then the corresponding embossed label will print out of the side.

Odd Printers:

Sense


tuvie

Designers from CD&I Associates have come up with a far-out and freaky printer. Sense is an innovative wireless device concept; users insert their hand in the Sense sheath to perceive different object properties like pressure, softness, roughness, hardness and many others, which are transferred to the user’s brain. “To taste a recipe before being cooked, the device features a flavor-ink micro-printer that generates stimulated flavors via the combination of its 5 basic wax cartridges.”

Moléculaire

Hungry? Moléculaire is a 3-D food printer. This concept printer builds up food, printing it out in three dimensions. Moléculaire was designed by Nico Kläber and was a finalist in the 2009 Electrolux Design Lab competition. “Moléculaire is a molecular 3D food printer that takes the marriage of science and cooking to a new level.”

In-home Clothing Printer


Yanko Design

Designer Josh Harris was a finalist in the top 25 Entries of Electrolux Design Lab 2010. The design contest theme was “The 2nd Space Age.” Designs were to be energy and space saving, and created for a home environment for the year 2050 when 74% of the global population are predicted to live in urban areas. The In-home Clothing Printer would allow users to print their clothes.

3-D Bio-Printer


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The 3-D Bio-pinter is the result of collaboration between Australian engineering firm Invetech, and Organovo, a regenerative medicine company based in San Diego, California. It would allow scientists to print cells of almost any type in the desired 3D pattern. “3D bio-printer could one day be used to create organs on demand for organ replacement surgery.” This printing device is already capable of growing arteries. Within five years, arteries “printed” by the device could be used in heart bypass surgeries. More complex organs such as hearts, teeth and bone should be possible within the next ten years.

Pottery Printer

We’ve seen concept printers that will allow you to “pre-taste” your food, print your meal, print your clothes, print replacement organs, so it’s little wonder that a concept printer can also print out pottery. At L’Artisan Electronique, Unfold modified an open source 3D printer to print ceramics. It prints the clay into pottery designs.

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