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