By Andrew Liszewski
It screams concept design, but apparently the PrintBrush 4×6, which incorporates a digital camera into a handheld printer that you manually swipe across any flat surface like paper, wood and fabrics to print an image, could be hitting the market as early as 2011/2012. The idea for the PrintBrush was originally cooked up way back in the year 2000, with early prototypes being shown in 2003. But it took 10+ years to perfect the design, which included replacing its LED-based optical sensors with infrared lasers for more accuracy.
As the PrintBrush is swiped across a flat surface, the scattering of the reflected laser beams and its power fluctuations are measured by the sensors, which are then able to track the device’s motion and position. That data is then used to calculate what color of ink droplets, one of 16 million shades, should be laid down depending on where the PrintBrush is on a surface, allowing you to swipe it in any direction to get a printed image.
Its built-in digital camera has a resolution of 5 megapixels, and the PrintBrush printhead is capable of producing a 4×6-inch full color image at 600dpi. When it is finally available, it will sell for a remarkable $149. Though I suspect that cost to increase once it actually goes into production. And let’s not forget, there’s still the cost of replacement ink carts.