Print Hi-Tech: October
Printing, digital, and marketing convergence
Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.
Today: testing your eye for colour with a free iPhone game; paper business cards with embedded chips from MOO; 3D printed device for getting drinking water; new online gang printing services.
Specimen for iPhone: make fun getting colours right
Most online applications for testing colour perception (like the Munsell Color system) are a bit tiresome. Try Specimen, a free-to-play iPhone game by Sal Randazzo, Erica Gorochow and Charlie Whitney, to add fun to colour tests.
According to its authors, the game appeared as a kind of diagnostic test with a timer. Colourful amebas floating in a petri dish should be matched across the background colours. And quickly!
You’ll be going through levels with more and more difficulty, which are all unlike. The engine randomises amebas’ hue, saturation, and colour value. “We found there was a human perceptual limit that we had to guard for, but I’d say in later levels we get pretty close to that line,” Gorochow notes.
Rich media MOO Cards: paper plus digital
MOO Business Cards+ connects paper business cards and digital technologies with the help of an embedded NFC (Near Field Communication) chip.
Adding new dimension to a traditional product, the chip is able to perform various actions—just tap a MOO card to an NFC-enabled smartphone. Actions are assigned via the Manage paper+ platform: you can link your card to a website or connect it to your social profile. An action can be an application download, a call, a message or saving contact details.
MOO has already announced partnerships with Spotify, LinkedIn, Appear.in and Citymapper for programmable actions, and users can also make their own actions outside the MOO platform by using IFTTT.
3D printed steam turbine: a low-cost way to treat salty water?
GE scientists Doug Hofer and Vitali Lissianski are creating a 3D printed device that could make drinking sea water possible. To implement their idea, they chose steam engine turbine principle. “‘In traditional steam turbines, steam condenses and turns to water,” Hofer explains. “We thought maybe the same principle could be applied to water desalination.”
The turbine is meant to freeze sea water separating the salt in solid form from clean ice. Then the ice can be melt to get drinking water. “Freezing seawater to treat it is nothing new, but the way we are doing it is very different. We’re tapping into our wealth of technical knowledge in turbomachinery to devise a cost-effective solution.” said Vitali Lissianski. A handheld 3D device could reduce desalination costs by up to 20 percent.
Supplies of clean drinking water continue to decrease. 97.5 percent of the global water is in salty oceans unsuitable for consumption, while a fifth of the planet is in dire need of fresh water.
Bonus: Made in Ukraine
Flyer.center, an American startup project for B2B and B2C segments co-owned by Ivan Dubrovin and Konstantin Puppo from Ukraine, attracted more than $1 million in combined investments. A gang printing service for American market uses upload2print technology with full process automation, from job upload to final output.
The startup is based on printonline.tech e-commerce platform provided by Tisk na Spletu, a Slovenian software company developing online solutions for the print industry. Earlier this year, the developers have successfully launched a similar druq.eu platform aimed at the European market.
According to Ivan Dubrovin, the main competitive advantage of gang-run print services is distributed printing. The print service provider just reallocates job flows while the printer can be located anywhere (the closer the better still as the distance affects costs and terms).