Scientists Develop the Ultimate Oxymoron, the Unprinter

A printer that feeds out a blank piece of white paper usually means there’s something wrong with the printer – again. But, if you’re using the unprinter, that will be exactly the outcome you want to see.

A team of engineers at Cambridge have developed a device that vaporizes commonly used toners without damaging the paper – reclaiming the paper for reuse. Put simply, it’s an eraser for printed ink. The device works by using lasers at the wavelength of green light in pulses of four nanoseconds each, vaporizing the ink while preserving the paper underneath.

The technology is still far from perfect, and repeated “erasings” will actually start to damage the paper, but the first step is always the biggest. The engineering team is working on securing a patent for the new technology. After that, you might be welcoming in an unprinter to your home or office in the near future. As far as green technology goes, the unprinter should be mentioned right up at the top of recent developments.

Via New Scientist

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