Unprinter erases the words from your page with laser beams!

15 March 2012

printerBlack printer cartridges are more expensive than gold, which means that clever-dicks will work out a way of making them cheaper, right? No chance. Instead, a team has worked out a way of erasing the words from your page with an unprinter.

Slope headed poshos in lab jackets from the University of Cambridge have unveiled this development which uses lasers to vaporise toner, which means that text can be burnt from a page without damaging the paper underneath.

A really fancy rubber then? (Full marks if you still snigger when someone says 'rubber')

And here comes the really boring bit that very few of you will understand or care about! The researchers look at previous work done using laser light to remove toner and noted that it centred on the use of ultraviolet, visible and infrared (IR) lasers under nanosecond pulses. However, these slapheads have expanded on this work by testing a wider range of ultrafast and long-pulsed lasers. Amazing, clearly.

"Colour analysis under the L*a*b* colour space, scanning electron microscope examination and attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform IR spectroscopy measurements of the outcome show that, with the right laser, it is possible to remove toner from paper to enable its re-use," the geeks said.

"It turns out the best wavelength is 532 nanometres - that's green visible light - with a pulse length of 4 nanoseconds, which is quite long," David Leal-Ayala told New Scientist. "We have repeated the printing/unprinting process three times on the same piece of paper with good results. The more you do it, though, the more likely it is for the laser to damage the paper, perhaps yellowing it."

Will the technology be cheaper than the paper you'll throw away and, indeed, is there much point in developing something like this when the world aims to be paper 'free'?

TOPICS:   Technology


  • James D.
    I genuinely find your journalism offensive, slapheads? Why because they actually have a brain?
  • James D.
    Great then later you call them "geeks" because they understand science. You are the epitomy of what is wrong with this country ridculing achievement in an effort to normalise ignorance.
  • Ben
    James, being offended that easily isn't something to tell the internet about. Now wipe away those tears and go see if ceebeebies has a news section that won't upset you so much. You twat.
  • Ben
    You mean 'epitome'. Spell these big words correctly, especially in a rant about ignorance.
  • Milky
    ....Well said, " Slaphead, Boffiny Geek" James!
  • jimjam
    You're all a bunch of dullards!
  • Dick
    I'd use the word twat instead. Why would this be needed? You would end up with a clean but slightly crumpled piece of paper. How much does a slightly damaged ream of paper cost compared to the machine? If it removed tattoos or something where it is likely to be useful, then great. But to clean used pieces of paper? Complete crap.
  • jax
    What a bunch of short sighted c***s you all really are. It is not going to be cheap on release but then what new technology is!
  • Boris
    @jax I'm not a cat you fricking melon farmer!
  • Boris
    I suppose it could be useful for altering documents once they have been signed .....
  • bartel
    Bitterwallet better be nicer to us geeks, otherwise we will get you with our deathray unprinter.
  • jax
    Boris I used to farm melons but found potatoes to be a more profitable produce, do keep up.
  • Boris
    @jax And what vile sweary phrase is overdubbed with 'potatoes' ?
  • james d.
    Why yes I did spell epitome incorrectly, but anyway my point is Mof keeps writing articles ridiculing those with an interest in technology whilst writing an article about technology. This started with the raspberry pie where he stated that you wouldn't understand what it was for if you were a "sensible human" a similar attitude he takes in all his tech articles. It's crappy lowest common denominator journalism putting down those who actually have some knowlege to make those who do not feel at ease. We should be celebrating these peoples achievements not calling them "geeks" "slapheads" and implying they are not normal human beings. It is this attitude that is causing the UK to fall behind in the tech sector. As I have said before Mof, you are probably not a moron but please stop writing as if you are to make people feel like they don't have to learn anything.
  • Mike H.
    Indispensible kit. You can type reports to your boss, with subversive rantings written into the text telling him what a cunt he is and how much fun you had fucking his wife and daughter. Then print it less the swearing. Wicked.
  • Grumpy
    I too found the language used towards the researchers over the top and unfair... This isn't really what I expect from you guys, even knowing what you do right. It didn't make the article funny - just plain awkward.
  • ExCrement
    Grumpy and James need to get a grip. This website is not as dry and serious as you would like?, if you want full techno geek news read the new scientist, nature, pc world or summat. dont start bleating about the ascerbic cynicism we get at bitter wallet...thats what most of us want who contribute here. Piss off eggheads
  • Beavis
    fffrrr frrrr he said "rubber"
  • james d.
    No I understand this is not a tech blog, but when writing about tech articles specifically I dont see why constant abuse of technical people is required. I didnt see articles about "the marketing wankers at sache & sache" be cynical about what they have done if you want but what we have seen lately is constant abuse of people purely for being technical.
  • Che B.
    These sound a brilliant idea for where I work. Can get a letter from the payroll department that say you aint gonna get a pay rise, erase it then put we are pleased to increase your salary to £24,000 PA. Are they available from Staples yet?

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