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3D printers may be making the headlines these days, but there’s still some innovation to be had in the second dimension of printing. Samsung has prototyped three new eco-friendly printers, winning Gold Awards at the 2013 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA).
The main philosophies that went into these three designs were “material innovation” and “process innovation.” Material innovation related to replacing the material normally used construction of the printer exterior, and process innovation referred to building the product. The goal was to make a product that was easy to build and environmentally friendly when it came to disposal. The designers cited inspiration from normal activities in their daily life. Principles such as these earned these designs much admiration and accolades in the “concept category” of the 2013 IDEA Design Awards.
The first of these unique printers was the Origami. Designer Seungwook Jeong found inspiration from donuts of all things. He noticed how donuts were packaged in cardboard boxes right in front of the customers and thought about doing the same with a printer. Instead of the plastic that printers traditionally are encased in, the Origami’s outer shell was made of corrugated cardboard, which is 100% recycled paper. Cardboard is cheaper than plastic and benefits the environment due to its recyclability. Consumers would construct the printer shell themselves by following instructions printed directly on the box. Samsung claims the Origami to be both water and fireproof, but the tests used to determine this remain undisclosed.
For The Clip, Jeong found inspiration in the myriad of adjustable and transformable products found in his local super market. The Clip achieved a more economical design by removing the complexity of putting the printer together. It was made of a single piece of polyethylene, the same type of material found in Tupperware and other kitchen containers. The build featured no screws. Instead, simple built-in clips held the shell together. The result of the product was fewer parts needed, less time taken to build it and less consumer dollars spent.
Finally, there was the modular Mate. This one was made up of individual panels of different colors, to allow the user to customize the look of the printer. Oddly enough, the inspiration for this design came from papercraft dinosaurs. The toy-like appearance of the printer lent to the concept “play with a printer.” That’s certainly a more preferable experience to the frustration that’s usually associated with printer setup.
While these three products are still prototypes, it could mean big things for the printers you’ll be seeing on store shelves. These unique designs place priority in reducing cost, complexity and waste. Consumers can definitely benefit from such approaches to product design. Jeong and his team will continue to work on new product concepts to meet these challenges.
By Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra