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Professional croissant on closed course. Do not attempt.
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This idea has been stewing for a little bit, and I really wish I had a way of making a prototype.. Sadly, I lack the technical knowhow or the resources.
PDAs and printers have been little more than aquaintances at this point.. Most of the time not communicating, or doing it poorly. I propose a Cheap,
Simple, and Easy way of making the union:
A thermal printer, much like the ones at cash registers and in older fax machines - This could even piggyback on the same paper as the receipts.
Basically the design would plug into a PDA (conceptualize on palm since that's what I have) via the connection port at the bottom, be held on the back of the unit and would have a bulge for a small roll of paper in a way that would be comfortable to hold.
The paper would be printed somewhere near the bottom using LEDs, and would come out the top, ready to be cut automatcally/ripped manually. Also you would probably need a single AA battery to conserve PDA power.
It would print via a button for a raw screenshot printout and/or software on the PDA (Draw across the screen).
It could have basic funtionality of Screenshot or "Entire Document" and would eliminate the need for quite a few things:
First and foremost, it would eliminate the whole non-syncing business card debacle. "Want to exchange cards?" "You have a non-friendly/no PDA?" <bzzzzt (.5 sec)> "Here :)"
Secondly: Scratch notes from the palm and/or pass data to a collegue. "I need to hold your PDA to be able to use that data" could be handled in a much better way than: "So write it down!" "etc"
I could have used this about 300 times during the time I've had a palm pilot, and since it would be small and the parts would be cheap (since you only have to have a max res width of something like 320 pixels @ about 2.5" wide), you could sell it for under $50. Rolls of paper like $2 each
Anything like this? [FloridaManatee, Oct 17 2004]
A bunch of alternatives
Scroll down [FloridaManatee, Oct 17 2004]
Singer IZEK Sewing machine
Driven from a Color Gameboy (included). Per FM's observation. [waugsqueke, Oct 17 2004]
Handheld Printer Sled for many PDA 's [mickey, Sep 28 2005]
The PDA printer could go hand-in-hand with this old barcode scanner cell phone attachment. [philmar, Jun 08 2006]
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||This sounds very much like the Nintendo Gameboy camera and printer extensions. This kind of thing has already gone on the market.
||I had one of these. Casio with an IRDA link. Used 5 sheets of the thermal sticky paper in a year and then binned it when it broke.
||I also had a mini parallel dot matrix back in the early nineties. Paper was fed from a register roll. About all it was good for was printing lifelike receipts.
||//This idea has been sewing for a little bit//
Now a PDA-driven sewing machine... THAT deserves a croissant!
||// PDA-driven sewing machine //
||A company I deal with has a PC-driven embroidery machine. It's quite hypnotic to watch. I bet it could do tattoos with a few small modifications.
||I'd quite like a till-roll printer like this - I've never seen one on the market specifically for use with PDAs.
||Singer has a sewing machine that is driven by a Gameboy. (Link)
||'course, it'd be relatively simple to include scanning (and thereby fax) capability with the printer.
||Someone correct me if I'm wrong but, "thermo printers" use heat to print right? and JackandJohn said to use "LEDs" in his printer (I assume to use less electricity) right? But it seems to me that this wouldn't work because LEDs create practically no heat at all. so...?
||Thermal printers do indeed use heat. There have been sufficient improvements in thermal printer and paper technology to make such devices much more practical than in the past. One tricky issue, however, is that fast thermal printers use a LOT of power. I did a design with a medium-speed one that took about 30 watts; many point-of-sale printers take over 100. By comparison, a AA battery is designed to deliver a fraction of a watt.