Categories: PrintersWorkspace

Quiz Of The Week: Printers

Printers are wonderful. Yes, they jam, freeze and have to be fuelled by expensive ink. And yes, they just might be one of the biggest sources of stress and anguish in the office. And yet, they are the only class of devices that can take something digital and transform it into an object that you can touch and hold in your hands.

Ink and paper

Since Gutenberg first invented the book press, humanity always wanted to make the printing process simpler and cheaper. The world’s first computer printer was a 19th century apparatus invented by Charles Babbage for his “difference engine”, to print out the output of a giant mechanical calculator.

From then on, the devices grew smaller, and more convenient. 1969 saw the invention of the laser printer by Xerox, transforming the mid-size company into a global business worth billions. But it was the inkjet printers in the late 1970s that truly democratised the technology, and made printers available for all.

Although there are many more ways to print on paper, the next big challenge is to create more affordable 3D printers. Some progress has already been made. Enthusiasts can pick up a DIY printer kit for as low as £600, or buy a complete machine for around $2000 (£1287). If you want to test the technology before investing such a big chunk of cash, companies like French Sculpteo will print out your design for a very reasonable fee.

So how much do you know about printers?

Take our quiz!

And if you like it, consider trying some of the others.

Max Smolaks

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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