Sunday | December 17, 2017
Canon Showcases New 4D Printer At CES

LAS VEGAS (CAP) - Canon unveiled the latest in printer technology at the Consumer Electronics Show this week as the company demonstrated the capabilities of its new Wells HG 4D printer, which allows users to scan, copy and print documents up to one week in the past.

"So I get to their booth and the Canon rep hands me a printout of an email to me that I haven't even received yet," said attendee Rick Girard. "An hour later, I get the email. When I go back and show the Canon guy, he asks me if he can print it out so I can have it an hour ago.

"Mind equals blown," he added.

A video playing on a monitor at the Canon booth showed benefits of the new printer ranging from the mid-level manager who forgets to create the big presentation but has it waiting for him on the printer right at the start of the meeting to the middle school girl who forgets to write her report but grabs it off the printer as she's heading out the door to school. In both instances, the users completed their work days later but printed the documents back to themselves in the past.

"The possibilities are as limitless as people are forgetful," the video voiceover concluded.

Canon officials say that despite the state of the art 4D, or time shift printing, they actually utilize old dot matrix technology to transmit the characters point by point back to a date and time set on the printer's touch screen. The Canon Wells HG printer located at the destination time then reassembles the transmitted characters and prints them in the True Type font contained in the meta data.

"Since this is such a new technology, there are some obvious limitations," Canon show manager Terrence Shaw told CAP News. "You have to send your print job back to the same printer because it runs a checksum against the mac address on the time synapse module.

"You can't just scan a document back to 1997 and have it appear out of thin air," Shaw added. "This is the real McCoy, not some concocted concept you find on the Internet."

Although Canon only guarantees a success rate going back one week, Shaw said users can try to print documents farther back than that. However, the greater the difference in time, the more garbled the characters get in transmission.

In addition, the printer currently only works with black ink as the time shift algorithm was found to skew colors at the higher end of the visible spectrum.

"We expect this technology to make leaps and bounds in much the same way that Internet speeds and wireless technology has," said Shaw. "Printing in the past may be a novelty now, but once people get a taste, it will become a necessity."

- CAP News Staff

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