This handheld device concept takes printing back to its roots

This handheld device concept takes printing back to its roots

This handheld device concept takes printing back to its roots

This handheld device concept takes printing back to its roots

With the growing number of digital documents, it almost seemed as if the printed paper would die out. That’s hardly true, of course, because more books and documents are printed every day every year. Printing has been at the heart of our civilization since humans found a way to put ink on paper around 6,000 years ago without having to write each letter by hand. Of course, fortunately, printing evolved from pressing inked pieces of metal or wood onto parchment, but it’s also become more distant and less personal over the centuries. Of course it was a matter of practicality and survival of the fledgling printing press business and we cannot imagine going back to that antiquated past. However, you might not have to go that far just to get a feel for the old days with this rather odd device that lets you almost literally print by hand.

Designer: Joonyeol Bae

Handheld printers are actually nothing new, but they are often designed for a very specific use case. These little boxes are usually for printing out small photos, often in the popular Polaroid format. In reality, they’re more akin to special-purpose portable photo printers than something you’d use to print documents. There are other handheld printer designs that are more like long bars that you have to hold as you move it down a page.

DUAL is a concept device that tries to combine the best of both worlds by offering a portable or handheld printer that ironically you don’t have to constantly hold while using it. It has rollers at the bottom that move the paper or itself along a flat surface, automating that part of the process. Of course, you can still put your hand on the device’s tent-like shape for the feel of a more direct interaction with printing.



The design of DUAL is quite quirky in that it also crosses the line between typical printers and portable printers. It takes up less desk space compared to a box printer, but it’s also something you can’t just slip in your bag to take outside. It has the advantage of being much more aesthetic than the average printer and serves as an interesting decorative piece when not in use.



However, the printer’s unconventional design requires an unconventional ink cartridge. Instead of typical blocks or long cartridges, DUAL uses a custom rounded rectangular container that holds all four colors together. Given the portability of the device, it might have been more efficient to use one of these zero-ink printing technologies, although again this would require the use of specialty paper.



The name DUAL doesn’t actually come from its form, but from its function. It also has a scanner on the top half of the device that can scan documents or images in the same way you would use a handheld stick scanner. Given this feature, DUAL is actually a TRIO as you can effectively copy a document by scanning it and then printing it out. It’s pretty much the same way these multifunction printers copy documents, except you have to do the process a little more manually, just like the old days.



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