Massachusetts-based Zink Imaging has unveiled a method of printing full colour digital images without the need for ink cartridges or ribbons, which could lead to pocket-sized printers.
The key to the Zink (zero ink) process is the paper, which is protected by more than 100 patents and patents pending. Dye crystals are embedded in the paper and are activated by heat from a printer. The crystals then become coloured, producing high quality, long-lasting, durable, and affordable images.
Later this year, Zink’s partners will launch the first pocket printers compatible with the paper, aimed at camera phone and digital camera users.
Being ink-free, the printers are dry and not affected by gravity. According to Zink, they can be embedded into other consumer electronics devices, transforming virtually anything into a printer.
The printed image should also prove long-lasting as the paper is made from a resilient composite structure that protects and preserves the printed image and is not light sensitive.