An Inkjet Pen, Anyone?

US patent application by an Australian company for a multi-color inkjet pen
Yes, yet another interesting use of the inkjet technology, this time in a pen.

Australian company Silverbrook Research Pty Ltd has filed US patent application number 20050265770 for a pen that uses multiple ink heads to be able to print variable width lines and in multiple colors. The patent naturally allows for a wide number of devices that can include various combinations of features. Some of these features including using a pressure sensitive ball tip not only to guide the pen but to control an attribute of the ink, such as line width, one or more control buttons that allow control of other features, such as ink color, and sensors in the pen to allow things like line shape to change depending on direction, for calligraphy type effects. Ink cartridges are replaceable and the pen is battery powered. In addition the pen may offer an interface of some sort so that other characteristics can be changed, by computer say, without having to overload the pen with buttons. Yet another option is the storage of the motion data in the pen or the transmission of it back to another device.

It is an interesting idea and we wait to see if any real products come out of it and how useful they are. One could envisage pens that act like markers that also capture the motion data and can upload it to your computer, so you are free to draw anywhere on anything but can capture the line shapes, placement and color later into a computer for other purposes. The simple application is, of course, a pen that offers a very large range of colors within the one pen. Then the questions become how archival is your pen, what is the shelf life of the inks and how much are the replacement ink cartridges? Third party inks for your pen, anyone?

What will be the next application of inkjet technology? In a tattoo device, for example?

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