Definition of Printer (computing)

In computing, printer translates to printer. A printer is a peripheral device that makes a persistent human-readable representation of graphics or text on paper.

The first computer printer designed was a mechanically driven device by Charles Babbage for his difference engine in the 19th century; however, his mechanical printer design was not built until 2000.

The first electronic printer was the EP-101, invented by the Japanese company Epson and released in 1968.

Early commercial printers generally used mechanisms from electric typewriters and teletype machines. The demand for increased speed led to the development of new systems specifically for computing use.

In the 1980s there were daisy wheel systems similar to typewriters, line printers that produced similar output but at a much higher speed, and dot matrix systems that could mix text and graphics but produced poor quality output. .

The plotter was used for those requiring high quality line art, such as blueprints.

The introduction of the low-cost laser printer in 1984 with the first HP LaserJet, and the addition of PostScript to the Apple LaserWriter the following year, sparked a revolution in printing known as desktop publishing.

Laser printers that use PostScript mixed text and graphics, like dot-matrix printers, but at quality levels previously available only on commercial typesetting systems.

In 1990, the simplest printing tasks, such as flyers and brochures, were now created on personal computers and then printed with lasers; expensive offset printing systems were being dumped for scrap.

The 1988 HP Deskjet offered the same advantages as laser printers in terms of flexibility, but produced lower quality output (depending on paper) from much less expensive mechanisms.

Ink-jet systems rapidly displaced dot-matrix and daisy-matrix printers on the market.

By the 2000s, high-end printers of this type had dropped below the $100 price point and became commonplace.

The rapid upgrading of Internet email during the 1990s and 2000s has largely displaced the need for print as a means of moving documents, and a wide variety of reliable storage systems means that a «physical backup» It is of little use at present.

Even the desire to get print results for «offline reading» during mass transit or on the plane has been displaced by e-book readers and tablets.

Today, traditional printers are used more for special purposes, such as printing photos or illustrations, and are no longer a must-have item.

Starting in 2010, 3D printing became an area of ​​intense interest, allowing the creation of physical objects with the same kind of effort an early laser printer required to produce a brochure. These devices are in their early stages of development and have not yet become commonplace in the home.

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