In terms of form and function the printer has not made any great strides in the last decade. What in reality is a cumbersome necessity, most printer experiences leave much to be desired between clunky design, awkward parts and a near total lack of user interface. While most companies seem content to continue churning out semi-archaic tech, Artefact has decided to push the envelope with an innovative new printer design. See What You Print (SWYP) is a sleek concept printer that promises high design combined with performance and a fantastic user interface.
Announced yesterday, the SWYP device sheds the traditional printer approach and draws the user right in. The touch screen is not a completely novel component to modern printer but it usually manifests as a small and barely functional element. In SWYP the entire front facade of the printer is a touchscreen with multi-touch capabilities. Wirelessly connect the printer to your camera, computer or Flickr account and your images will appear on a queue from which you can drag and drop them into the work area. Once pulled into the editable zone you can live edit the prints, including cropping, sizing and rotating. The image on the screen reflects exactly what you will see when you print, hence the name See What You Print.
The fantastic interactivity aside, the SWYP concept is beautifully designed. Compact, sleek and elegant the printer's form strays drastically from contemporary ink-jet space hogs. The foldable, semi-fabric paper tray fits seamlessly into the body of the printer, keeping it compact while also acting as the on/off switch. To check the ink push a button and the color screen fades revealing the printer's guts without prying open the case. This product has really taken the consumer into consideration in terms of ease of use, fun, and performance.
With no set release date the SWYP is an excellent look at the potential of printers. This new take on a stagnant device offers an exciting view of the future and promise of consumer based printing.