Paper: an upright printer/scanner that uses a continuous roll of paper

Stuttgart-based industrial designer created "Paper," a novel concept for a printer/scanner/copier, as part of diploma thesis in UX- and Interaction-Design at the State Academy of Arts and Design.

"Paper" looks a little like one of those old suitcase record-players, and uses a continuous roll of paper to print in different sizes; big, friendly buttons and LED readouts make it easy to tell what's going on inside.

I have no idea whether it would be mechanically reliable enough to be a real product, but the rethink of the design is exciting (it helps that the whole thing is done in safety orange, my favorite color!), and makes me want to throw away the ugly, unreliable, overly complex multifunction printer on my desk.

Paper is part of Rensch’s diploma thesis Interacting with things and explores how today’s machines can be used intuitively. Despite being a connected device (Internet of Things) it hasn’t got a screen but uses physical controls and simple light signals instead, to take advantage of the human fine motor skills.

Paper does also exist in the virtual space and can be operated by an app or a website. Thus, it brings together the analogue and the digital world and transfers visual content from the one into the other.

The result is an entirely new form. Paper is printing on an upright paper roll and therefore is compact, space-saving and mobile. Rather than being a grey necessity for working environments, Paper is a aesthetically pleasing creative tool. The user interface was designed following the Pareto principle, which states that 80% of the time, we only use 20% of the features. To achieve this, Rensch defined a printer’s key functions, analyzed the required procedures and simplified these until the result was an easy to understand, pleasant and minimalistic product.

PAPER: A PRINTER YOU ACTUALLY WANT [Ludwig Rensch]

Notable Replies

  1. If he could make that work with perforated green-bar paper, then he'd really have something. Also, have it make a loud buzzy noise, just for old-times' sake.

  2. Can it print in dot-matrix? Just for old times' sake.

    That also reminds me of a scriptwriter I met who'd written for shows like Soap. He said the feeling of having to work to the end of the page always intimidated him so he bought a roll of continuous paper and fed that through his typewriter.

  3. Dot matrix has held on surprisingly well for its age and fairly pitiful resolution. You can get bright, shiny, new models right off the shelf. Some of them have even been updated for USB support.

    Aside from sounding cool and producing the definitive typeface of the retrofuture, consumables costs are low and the dot matrix print head is nigh-indestructible. Probably more importantly to its ongoing survival, if you are using NCR-paper forms to push paper in triplicate your options are either dot matrix or typewriters.

  4. I wonder how it would get paper off a roll and have it come out flat. I also wonder where its gut are, as it doesn't seem like there would be room for both a moving scan apparatus and a moving inkjet printhead - it simply can't be CMYK laser at that size.

    In short, it looks like a neat concept, but also like it badly misrepresents what the final product would have to look like.

  5. There's design, and there's engineering design. Yes, this has been designed in the aesthetic sense. It has not been designed in the engineering sense. It would not look like that if it was designed to actually work.

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