With the growing number of digital documents, it almost seemed like printed paper was disappearing. Of course, this is hardly true, with even more books and documents being printed every day every year. Printing has been at the heart of our civilization since man invented a way to put ink on paper without handwriting each letter some 6,000 years ago. Sure, printing happily evolved from pressing pieces of metal or wood with ink onto parchment, but it also became more distant and less personal over the centuries. Of course, it was a matter of practicality and survival for the fledgling printing business, and we can’t imagine going back to that antiquated past. That said, maybe you don’t have to go that far just to get a feel for the old days with this rather curious device that lets you print by hand, almost literally.
Designer: Joonyeol Bae
Portable printers are nothing new, but they are usually designed for a very specific use case. These small boxes are usually used to print small photos, usually in the popular Polaroid format. In reality, they’re more like special-purpose portable photo printers than something you’d use to print documents. There are other portable printer designs that are more like long bars that you have to hold steady as you move them down a page.
DUAL is a concept device that tries to combine the best of both worlds, offering a portable or portable printer that, ironically, you don’t have to hold the whole time while using it. It has rollers at the bottom that move the paper or itself along a flat surface, automating this part of the process. Of course, you can still place your hand in the device’s tent shape to get that feeling of having a more direct interaction with the print.
The design of DUAL is quite peculiar as it also spans between typical printers and portable printers. It takes up less space on a desk compared to a box-type printer, but it’s also something you can’t easily slip into your bag to take outside with you. It has the advantage of being much more aesthetic than an ordinary printer, serving as an interesting piece of decoration when not in use.
The printer’s unconventional design means it also requires an unconventional ink cartridge. Instead of typical blocks or long cartridges, DUAL uses a custom rounded rectangle container that holds all four colors together. Given the portability of the device, it might have been more efficient to use one of these inkless printing technologies, although this in turn required the use of special 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 the same way you would use a handheld bar-type scanner. Given this feature, the DUAL is actually a TRIO as you can efficiently copy a document by scanning and printing it. It’s effectively the same way that all-in-one printers copy documents, except you have to do the process a bit more manually than you used to.