Powerless digital camera ‘punches’ holes in paper

IDF 2009: Future mobile concepts

NEW IDEAS USUALLY don’t just happen, most have years of work and tweaking behind them. One of these is called Punch, a new way to take and ‘print’ digital photos.

Intel sponsors design teams at six universities for mobile concepts, trying to expand how computing is used in ways that don’t necessarily need immediate commercial ROI. The best of the bunch was Punch, a battery free, self contained printing digital camera. It doesn’t print in the traditional sense though, it punches different sized holes in paper to act as pixels. The result is a permanent ‘picture’ that is unlike anything else on the market.

Punch tool and pictures

The device is smaller than the pens some people carry around, and is dominated by a roller and a camera. The camera is in the center, and the rollers that ‘print’ are on either side. You slide a piece of paper through the center, and crank the left side of the punch to ‘print’.


Punch tool with the crank open

When you twist the crank, it does two things, it turns the rollers, punching the picture into the paper, and simultaneously generates power for the device. The cranking energy is all power needed for the next picture while printing the current one. No batteries, no electricity, no ink, just paper, or something else that you don’t mind perforating.

The Punch device does not exist as anything more than a concept device that, like most concept cars, doesn’t do much right now. There is a lot of hard work and engineering to do in the next few years before it can be realized, but I think the idea has a lot of merit, and should be pursued. If you don’t think the idea has merit, as soon as you lose half a lifetime of digital photos through hardware failure, fat fingers, or neglect, you will suddenly get it.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate