HP might start making ink cartridges more affordable – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: HP and several other printer manufacturers have made a killing over the years by selling printers relatively inexpensively to get you into their ecosystem then charging a small fortune when it comes time to replace the ink cartridges.
It was so bad, in fact, that I know of at least one person that would simply buy a new printer whenever he ran out of ink because it was cheaper than buying replacement cartridges. And at the local computer shows I used to attend in the early 2000s, I can recall several vendors offering “custom” printer solutions that would bypass traditional printer cartridges in favor of tubes that fed into giant bottles of cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink.
This sort of sales strategy isn’t exclusive to the printer industry, either. Razor manufacturers are more than happy to sell their handles to customers at a reasonable rate then turn around and charge an arm and a leg for replacement cartridges.
Fortunately, there might be some relief in sight.

HP is moving away from the “razor/blade” model for printers because 20% of their customers don’t print enough or buy enough ink to be profitable, according to Morgan Stanley analysts in a note today
— kif (@kifleswing) January 9, 2020

According to a recent research note from Morgan Stanley, HP is considering moving away from the model as 20 percent of their customers don’t buy enough ink or print enough to be profitable. The bad news, conversely, is that the initial cost of printer hardware might climb as a result.
For many, it may be worth reconsidering your needs. I know that once I got out of college, and especially once smartphones took off, my need for a printer dropped significantly. Now, I’m able to get by with a simple laser printer. It may not print in color, but that hasn’t been a concern for close to a decade now.
Masthead credit: Ink by pticelov

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MIT Creates Light-Sensitive ‘Reprogrammable’ Ink



You probably had to agonize over colors the last time you bought a car, a pair of shoes, or anything else where color matters. What if you didn’t have to pick a single color, though? Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a new color-changing ink that you can “reprogram” with light to produce different colors and patterns. Best of all, you can change the colors as many times as you want. 

MIT calls this “PhotoChromeleon” ink, and it’s a mix of multiple polychromatic dyes that can be spray-painted on almost any object. The team started by mixing standard automotive lacquer with cyan, yellow, and magenta polychromatic dyes. Each individual dye changes color when exposed to UV light. 

When you mix all three dyes together, you have a paint that can produce a wide range of colors. By understanding how each dye reacts to light, the researchers are able to precisely control each color channel. It’s similar to the way a modern inkjet printer uses individual cartridges of cyan, magenta, and yellow ink to create almost any shade you want. 

The team tested the programmable ink on various objects like a show, a phone case, and a (quite fittingly) a toy chameleon. The video below demonstrates how the clear ink becomes DLP projector shines high-intensity light onto the object’s surface as it spins on a turntable. However, it does take a few hours to create a pattern on small objects in the lab. The result is a colorized layer that looks like it was painted on. It was in a sense, but you can change the paint job whenever you want. 

This system is an evolution of ColorMod, a previous MIT experiment that used a 3D printer to create objects that could change color. In that case, the printer had to create each “pixel,” so the resulting patterns weren’t very clear. PhotoChromeleon produces crisp images, and you can quickly “reset” the ink with an ultraviolet light. 

MIT believes PhotoChromeleon technology could eventually make manufacturing more efficient and reduce waste. Imagine that you didn’t need to get two different pairs of shoes in different colors. You could just reset the color and change it to something else whenever you want. Bored with your phone case? Don’t buy a new one, just change the pattern with light. MIT is already working with Ford to advance the PhotoChromeleon project, which also supported the development of ColorMod.

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