Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Palmtop copier

For a quick and literal copy-paste
  (+4, -1)
(+4, -1)
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This device could be a stand-alone unit or integrate into a palmtop computer. It would have two parts: A high quality scanner and an ink-jet printing device.

Handheld scanners use details of what they've scanned to tell where they are on a page. One can scan down a column of text, then down another column and the scanner's software will recognise duplicate area and integrate the scans into one image. An externally printing inkjet printer can be build by putting the print-head on the outside and using wheels to put the print-heads very close to the page. High resolution is neither possible nor necessary.

The user would put a piece of paper flat on any surface and roll the printer over it to print. The scanner would detect location on the page and only print parts of the image not already printed. It would be necessary to either set it for a certain size print or roll the scanner over two edges of the paper to show it the paper size.

So when the user wants to copy a post-it note, or the bus schedule, or a map, or whatever, she merely has to set it to scan, roll over the item to be scanned, then later plop down any flat piece of paper on any flat surface and set it to print.

A drawing of this would be welcome if anyone can figure out what I'm trying to describe
Voice, Sep 08 2008


       You would need some sort of registration on the printing page (otherwise, how does the device know where it is on the page?). Most people won't want to walk around with a pocket full of ink.   

       I'd rather take a picture of the original and e-mail it (to be printed later) or fax it (to be printed right away).
phoenix, Sep 09 2008

       use photocopying. Could be miniaturized and requires 0 computing power. sadly the whole concept is obsolete in a digital age. (phoenix) is correct.
WcW, Sep 09 2008

       Registration of the page to be copied or printed to can be accomplished by two buttons, one for "copy" and one for "print". No pockets full of ink are necessary unless you call an ink pen a "pocket full of ink" as well.

Pictures have their place, but you have to find your way to an ordinary printer to use them. This device lets you print anywhere, any time without worrying about having clean paper of the right size and shape.

The software would be complicated but as I said, hand-held scanners have been using that technology for a long time.
Voice, Sep 09 2008

       The problem I see is with smearing. In an inkjet printer, it moves a narrow printhead back and forth to assemble the image. I'm assuming you are having the user repeat this motion, but using a scanning head to see where you are on the image. So the user would wave the printhead around and the image would appear as the printhead prints any area that is passes over like a pensil rubbing (I think that is what it is called). The problem is that you can't/don't have anything to space the printhead off the page in such a a way so the mechanism will not contact wet ink. You could build a thermal printer, but then you have to bring the paper.
MisterQED, Sep 09 2008

       Its on wheels to create a small space. The low rider of palmtops.
Voice, Sep 09 2008

       Silly Putty?
Giblet, Sep 11 2008

       I can think of an immediate use for this item: Signing autographs. Not mine, of course, but someone who might actually be asked to do so.   

       Isn't this really like a stamp, essentially? Just way more powerful and flexible. [+]
Noexit, Sep 12 2008


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