Computer memory printed onto paper

July 29, 2014

Taiwanese researchers have been able to print computer memory onto paper.

Credit: CITEWorld

Credit: CITEWorld

CITEWorld reported on the research by Dr. Der-Hsien Lien and his team, who demonstrated printing “the kind of memory computers read” onto paper, with the aim that with printable transistors, this could “spawn a host of easy-to-make connected paper-based products” such as “do-it-yourself RFID tags”.

Noting that “there’s something deliciously ironic about printing memory onto paper [as] paper has held memories for thousands of years”, the site adds that this development can jump on the back of 3D printing to offer “home-printable objects” that can talk to “each other with home-printable computer components”.

With paper being “cheap, flexible and widespread”, it is a “good candidate as a substrate”, with the issue of absorption and “being porous and uneven” previously an “unwanted quality” when constructing electronics. Dr. Lien and his team coated paper in carbon to “make a type of resistive random access memory” that would apply voltage across the insulator layer with an electrode, so that each “bit” on the paper would be an insulator sandwiched between two electrodes.

The insulator in this case was “the right kind of ink”, which was titanium oxide printed with a modified inkjet printer, and a silver solution was used to print 50 µm dots as the electrodes. This meant that one A4 piece of paper would hold one megabyte of memory, with Lien adding that the memory “maintains its state for about eight minutes” after power is switched off, and holds up “if you bend and fold the paper”.

With much more research to be done, Lien adds that “in the future you [could] make a functional device in your home”, with initial uses including shopkeepers printing “labels for goods with an embedded list of all the goods in certain boxes”, and whilst read and write speeds are “not fast enough for complicated tasks yet”, the technology is “suitable enough for low level jobs”.

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Ricoh releases Google printing app

July 29, 2014

The Ricoh App for Google Cloud Print will enable users to print from Google devices.ricohc401-578-80

TechRadar stated that the application is “designed to enable businesses to print directly from devices without the need for pre-established print servers”, and ties Google’s Cloud Print and Docs applications to printers “via laptop, tablet or smartphone”.

The application’s connection between the two services from Google enables users in turn to “print documents, through a cloud-based connection, without having to connect the device to the printer”. In turn, Ricoh are said to be “specifically targeting non-profits, government agencies and schools” with the new application, which can be purchased directly from the OEM and be installed “remotely” by a technician.

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Ricoh releases low-cost GelJet printer

July 28, 2014

Ricoh's SG 2100N

Ricoh’s SG 2100N

The SG 2100N is aimed at small businesses and is its lowest-priced GelJet printer.

V3.co.uk reported on the launch of the GelJet Aficio SG 2100N, which will retail for only £60 ($101/€75) in the UK, and which features the OEM’s GelJet technology, a “hybrid of laser and inkjet” that uses viscous pigment inks “derived from soya”, making it “non-toxic and rapid drying”.

Adding that the machine offers “high-quality colour printing for small businesses and professionals at a low price point”, Ricoh stated that the SG 2100N also provides “reliability and low running costs”, with a print resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi as well as print speeds of 29ppm and a duty cycle of 10,000 prints per month. Ethernet and USB ports are also included in the machine.

The device is also constructed from recycled plastic and features an eco mode that uses “only 50 percent of the standard volume of ink”, in addition to an energy usage of only 27 watts when printing, which Ricoh says is “equivalent to a single light bulb”. The GelJet technology also means that paper is fed through “by a transfer belt”, so thicker media can be used in the machine.

Other features of the machine include a low cost per page of 14p ($0.23/€0.17) in colour and 7.5p ($0.12/€0.09) in eco mode, compatibility with mobile printing applications, and a two-year onsite warranty, meaning that users can have a technician “visit their site to fix any hardware malfunction” instead of replacing the printer.

Steven Hastings, IT Distribution Channel Director for Ricoh UK, noted that the OEM’s larger GelJet printers are “widely used in the public sector, but this model has been designed specifically to appeal to smaller companies and individuals. It’s intended to be ideal for the small office and home office, for small companies and the business person who often works from home”.

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Epson increases PrecisionCore production capacity

July 22, 2014

precisioncoreOEM will invest ¥10 billion from fiscal 2014 through the 2015 fiscal year in PrecisionCore print head production lines in Japan.

Epson announced that it will increase the production capacity of its PrecisionCore inkjet print heads by investing approximately ¥10 billion ($98.4 million/€73 million) in production lines at its Suwa Minami and Tohoku sites; with the company stating that investment will total roughly ¥40 billion ($394 million/€292 million) by fiscal 2015, including R&D spending and capital investment over the past decade.

The OEM’s PrecisionCore inkjet print heads are described as offering “blazing fast print speeds and stunning image quality”, and are predominantly used in office, commercial and industrial inkjet printers. The PrecisionCore technology was developed by Epson following breakthroughs in piezo material by combining its core inkjet technology with “advanced micreoelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology”; with the print heads first produced in June 2013 at the two plants.

The print heads feature “individually controlled nozzles, each of which is capable of firing up to 50,000 precise ink droplets per second”, and are produced on “fully-automated production lines”.

Epson stated that the increased production capacity “will enable Epson to achieve its business goal of strengthening its position and expanding its footprint in the inkjet printer domain”, helping to “further enhance competitiveness and drive business growth”.

The Recycler reported in April of Epson UK’s plans to become the “number one player” in production print, with more than 10 new inkjet printers featuring PrecisionCore print heads set to be launched by 2016.

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Brother launches new affordable inkjet printer

July 22, 2014

The MFC-J4420DW is aimed at the SOHO (Small Office Home Office) market.

Brother's MFC-J4420DW

Brother’s MFC-J4420DW

CePro reported on the launch of the printer by the OEM, which noted that the machine features “cost-competitive features and print rates” alongside compatibility with iOS, Android, Microsoft and Kindle Fire tablets and phones for mobile printing.

The MFC-J4420DW is part of Brother’s Business Smart product line, and offers a “higher level of performance than previous generations” due to improved print speeds of 20ppm in monochrome and 18ppm in colour, alongside a 2.7-inch colour touchscreen and 11-inch by 17-inch paper printing options.

The device also features the OEM’s Super High-Yield inkjet cartridges, which can print approximately 1,200 monochrome and colour pages , which Brother notes “helps to reduce per page print costs, which can help save money in higher volume print environments”. Mobile printing applications that the machine can sync with include AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Cortado Workplace and iPrint & Scan.

Eric Dahl, Director of Marketing for SoHo Products for Brother, commented: “With the expansion and improved pricing of our award-winning Business Smart Series, it’s easier than ever for a customer to find the ideal colour inkjet all-in-one for the home office or small office.

“By committing to low-cost printing, mobile device connectivity, and versatile paper handling, we’re making owning an innovative, hard-working Brother Inkjet all-in-one accessible to SOHO customers who are keeping a careful eye on their budget.”

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Samsung releases A3 machines in Jordan

July 21, 2014

The OEM launched its MultiXpress series in the Middle Eastern nation.

Samsung's MultiXpress K2200

Samsung’s MultiXpress K2200

MENAFN reported on the launch by Samsung’s subsidiary, Samsung Electronics Levant, of the MultiXpress A3 laser range in Jordan. The printers will be sold by official distributor The National Office System Co., and are aimed at enterprises as well as private, public and banking sectors.

The launch was held at the Intercontinental Jordan Hotel at a seminar for customers from the different market sectors, with a workshop also held by The National Office System to demonstrate the printers. The devices include the K2200 and K2200ND, which are MFPs featuring “high quality printing output”, a 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution, high-capacity toner cartridges and RECP technology, which “enhances the printing quality for text and images […] while reduc[ing] the cost to businesses by reducing printing costs per page”.

Mr. Chung, Head of Samsung Electronics Levant’s Enterprise Business Group, stated: “In this evolving lifetime, enterprises’ needs are developing and changing constantly, and to meet owners’ and professional’s expectations, we at Samsung deliver innovative products and solutions based on these needs and expectations.

“With diverse usage, enterprises will experience a more powerful and professional performance with flexible and easy-to-use technologies, accompanied by simplified setup, printing and maintenance methods, to give the users the optimal experience.”

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Totalpost installs another X-ray machine

July 17, 2014

The company installed the machine in Lloyd’s Bank’s headquarters in Cardiff.

The XIS-6040 X-ray machine

The XIS-6040 X-ray machine

The X-ray machine, an Astrophysics XIS 6040, is a security screening device, and will be used at Lloyd’s Bank’s headquarters in Cardiff, Wales, to ensure that “staff continue to be protected by the highest level of security”. The machine can screen all mail “for hidden threats”, with the site receiving over 200 items per day, every one of which is screened using the device.

Totalpost added that it has trained all the “post room, security and receptionist staff” at the site on how to use the machine, and staff will “continue to receive ongoing training as required”, whilst Totalpost will also provide “full maintenance and servicing” of the machine whilst it is used by Lloyd’s. The device is compact and features “tunnel opening dimensions” of 60mm by 50mm; is “easy to use” and provides “crisp, high resolution images”; and is also used in “diverse” sites including prisons, courts and public buildings”.

Kelley Martin, Facilities Manager at Lloyds Cardiff, commented: “The safety of our staff and visitors is paramount, and as a bank we have a responsibility to ensure that everything we do is secure. Therefore choosing the right security screening device for our mailroom was essential.

“Screening the mail and parcels is part of our everyday process, the machine is reliable, extremely easy to use and gives us all peace of mind. The service we have received from the point of order through to install and aftercare has been outstanding and I would not hesitate to recommend Totalpost.”

David Hymers, Managing Director of Totalpost, added: “Many corporate mailrooms are now looking to increase their security and protect staff by screening incoming mail for hidden threats. An X-ray screening device such as the XIS 6040 is ideal for this as it is easy to use and is very compact.”

The company previously installed an X-ray machine for Nationwide Bank in the UK, and installed a mailroom folding machine for Lloyd’s.

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Is printing at home still necessary?

July 11, 2014

printer-dj890Article discusses the cost of home printing and whether it is still necessary for most people.

An article by accountant Andy Prescott on ClarkHoward.com discussed the real costs of home printing, arguing that it may not be necessary for people to have a printer at home with today’s easily available free printing options.

Prescott began by noting that while the cost of buying a home printer may be small, the money spent replacing cartridges is substantially more – even when buying refilled cartridges; while at the same time the cartridges themselves “don’t last very long either”.

He added that even if you don’t print much from home, “the ink goes bad and needs to be replaced every six months or so after you install it” and so the costs still add up. In fact, he said that “if you print hundreds of pages, your price average isn’t too bad”, but if you print “less than 10 pages every six months” you are paying “about $1.50 (€1.10) per page for ink”.

Analysing what the main uses for a home printer are for most people, Prescott noted that some people like to print important documents for their records, which he argued may not be necessary any more due to “numerous free cloud storage solutions that make sure you will have access to your documents no matter what happens”.

Printing flight boarding passes is another common reason for using a home printer, but Prescott asserted that “there are other options that are just as convenient” as “many airlines have gone paperless and allow travellers to use an electronic boarding pass on their smart phones or tablets” and airports often enable boarding passes to be printed using kiosks on-site “without having to wait in long lines”.

Arguably the most common use of a home printer is to complete forms that need to be printed in order for people to sign and return them. Prescott said that while this is “the most common use of my printer”, there are some “simple ways of filling out these forms electronically, such as Adobe Reader XI, which he claims “has everything you need to complete forms without your printer” as it features a “Sign” tab that allows users to “add text and place a signature onto your completed form” which can then be submitted through email.

Prescott goes on to highlight the usefulness of “your friendly local copy shop” for when you occasionally need to print “no more than a few times per year”, as it “costs much less” than if you only occasionally print something using a home printer.

In conclusion, Prescott said that for people who print only a few pages per year, a home printer probably isn’t the most cost-effective solution, but recognised that “everyone uses a printer a little different[ly], and for some, not having a printer would be a major pain”.

Could/do you live without a home printer? Leave a comment or email www.therecycler.com/news

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“Royalty alliance” created to stop patent trolls

July 10, 2014

Patent  DefinedCanon and Google create alliance allowing members to get a royalty-free license to patents sold by participating companies in a bid to prevent infringement suits from patent trolls.

Businessweek reported on the formation by Canon and Google of the License on Transfer (LOT) Network, with the aim of limiting licensing firms who license the patents with the main objective of demanding royalties and filing infringement suits against companies using the related technology.

Companies participating in the alliance will pledge that, should they sell some of their patents, “all members of the group automatically get a royalty-free license to them”; with six companies so far committing to join the network, including Canon, Google, business-software maker Sap AG, internet retailer Newegg Inc., data storage company Dropbox Inc. and software maker Asana Inc., which was started by Facebook Inc. co-founder Dustin Moskovitz. These companies together reportedly own almost 300,000 patents and applications.

Moscovitz commented that the LOT Network “will be a no-brainer for start-ups”, as they will want to limit their exposure to lawsuits. Eric Schulman, Legal Director of Google’s patent team Mountain View, added: “The hope is people will see the benefits of the network effect here and the cycle of selling patents to licensing companies will end.”

Meanwhile Brett Alten, Head of intellectual property at Dropbox, said: “Patents are great for innovation and when used properly they foster innovation. If a LOT member owns the patents, they can do whatever they want, but if they transfer the patent outside the network, then the folks inside the network get a license. It really leads people to reach out and find ways to work with each other.”

The Recycler has reported on numerous cases in the past where OEMs have spoken out against patent trolls, with HP launching a petition last year against 40 shell companies that had been acting on behalf of MPHJ Technology Investments demanding royalty payments from SMBs.

Ricoh and Xerox had also challenged the same shell companies, filing an “inter partes” review request at the patent office in an attempt to prove that the scanning patent MPHJ was trying to enforce was not in fact patentable.

However, a more recent case saw MPHJ file four lawsuits against four different companies, including Coca Cola, claiming that they had infringed patents relating to scan-to-email functions used by employees.

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3D printer recycles plastic bottles

July 4, 2014

Screen shot 2014-07-04 at 10.47.59Ekocycle 3D printer able to transform used plastic bottles into “wearable accessories”.

Deccan Chronicle (http://www.deccanchronicle.com/140704/technology-latest/article/ultimate-recycling-unit) reported that 3DSystems’ recently launched Ekocycle cube 3D printer prints objects using “filaments made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles”, making it a “sustainable and environmentally responsible” way of reusing waste.

The device is currently able to print objects in red, white and black; although its manufacturers are reportedly “confident” that other colours will be available in future. Furthermore each Ekocycle cartridge on average is made from “recycled 20-ounce plastic containers” and is capable of turning a minimum of three used plastic bottles into accessories such as “bracelets, vases, mobile accessories [and] shoes”.

US rapper Will.i.am, who is the Chief Creative Officer of 3DSystems, launched the product, describing it as “the beginning of a cultural revolution” that “would help in revamping lifestyles”.

You can view a short clip of Will.i.am discussing the Ekocycle printer here.

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