HP’s New Printing Technology to Impact Multiple Industries

HP is piloting a new display technology that could revolutionize finance, hospitality, healthcare, security, retail and transportation.

HP IonTouch, the name HP is giving to its new technology is allegedly a secure system that can place and update visual information onto digital displays in plastic cards about the size of a standard credit card.

HP claims it is a low-cost and energy-free display technology that can be produced with IonTouch imagers. They can create an image similar to Amazon Kindle without using the electronics yet remain permanently visible unless reimaged by an IonTouch device.

HP Labs researchers had to create an entirely new imaging device to erase and write onto HP IonTouch cards. The imager can erase the card’s current display before printing the new information onto its electronic paper via a floating, non-contact print head similar to the way an ink jet head prints ink onto conventional paper—but without the ink. The entire process takes less than four seconds.

“The image can be rewritten more than 10,000 times. Each image can stay as it is printed forever, or until you run the card through the imager again,” says HP IonTouch lead engineer Napoleon Leoni. He also notes that the cards are made to be flexible, durable, water-washable, and impact resistant – and can thus easily handle a pocket or wallet environment. HP IonTouch cards are projected to cost less than a couple of dollars to make.

Potential uses that require personalized messages include gift cards, security badges, smarter hotel door keys, medical cards, public transport passes and updatable loyalty cards, rewritable shelf labels in pharmacies, grocery stores, and other retailers.

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