Twenty years ago, inkjet printers seemed like magic—they printed so many colors, so fast! Now they’re that necessary evil for producing concert tickets or handling that one thing in your life that you still have to sign and actually mail in somewhere. No doubt, it’s not helping that printers are crafted with a bottom-barrel industrial design that offers no joy yet only manages a 97% I-won’t-eat-your-paper rate.
But Stack, a diploma project by Mugi Yamamoto, is a printer that thinks beyond the conventional paper tray. Rather than asking you to load and reload small stacks of paper into the machine, you simply place Stack right on top of a mountain of paper, where it’ll munch its way down the pile down to the last sheet.
"The main aim was to reduce the volume of the printer and create a more interesting interaction," Yamamoto tells Co.Design. "[But] the endless paper tray is very useful because you don’t need to refill papers while printing large quantities."
Yet Yamamoto doesn’t stop there—he goes so far as to call his creation an "astonishing object," and while that might sound a bit like bragging, it’s actually a nuanced description for the experience of using his printer. Stack isn’t just a designer’s daydream; it’s a functioning prototype. And as you watch that printer chomp through this unconventionally convenient process, there’s certainly an air of double-take-inducing whimsy. Will the printer tip the paper tower over? Will the printer just shoot all of my papers into the air? Any minor tragedy seems possible, which inherently makes Stack’s basic printing feel like an astonishing triumph each and every moment it works.
Onlookers have no idea that Yamamoto’s breakthrough is that he’s simply moved the conventional sheet-feeding wheels on the paper tray to Stack’s bottom—where they are less visible and thereby more magical—but effectively serve the same function as they always have. All of this said, Yamamoto admits that he could use the help of the major printer manufacturers to refine his product for mass production, and he’s no doubt hoping that that company reaches out to him to make that happen.
[Hat tip: swissmiss]