The pen of the future will use inkjet technology to deliver a multitude of colours from its tip, according to recent filings from prolific patenter Silverbrook Research in Balmain, Australia.
Inkjet printer heads are now cheaply mass-produced and small enough to fit into the stem of a pen in place of a nib or ballpoint. Silverbrook’s pen body is about as thick as a fountain pen, with a battery-powered microelectromechanical print head near the tip that pumps out fine jets of ink from a replaceable cartridge.
A smooth roller point at the tip of the pen holds the jet at a fixed distance from the paper and pressing the point onto the paper switches the jet on and off. Varying the pressure varies the thickness of the line by controlling the number of jets that pump ink – a hard push makes a thick line and vice versa.
The roller point can also sense the direction of movement over the page and make the jet change shape to mimic the behaviour of a pen nib. And if the cartridge has separate chambers of cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink, a switch on the side of pen will allow writing and drawing to be done in a rainbow of colours.
Read more about the inkjet pen design, here.