On the horizon: Printing with a wave of the hand?

Next year could see a new, smaller mobile printing option.

The main issue affecting printer form factor so far has been the size of the paper. A printer must be wider than the sheets it prints.

If you want 8.5- by 11-inch sheets, the printer must be at least 10 inches wide, even if the print head and ink cartridge only take up two inches.

On June 24, a start-up in Stockholm, Sweden, called PrintDreams Europe AB, at www.printdreams.com, announced the release of a format-independent printing model called Random Movement Printing Technology and a device that uses it, called the PrintBrush.

The printer itself is a handheld device with a wireless connection to a computer or personal digital assistant. The PrintBrush senses motion and prints the document as the user passes it across a sheet of paper.

It uses an optical motion detector and compensates for any hand motion, shake or changes in acceleration.

PrintDreams officials have said they expect the first products to reach the market early next year. If successful, userswill be able to fit a printer into a pocket.

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