A prototype of a digital still camera unveiled by Canon integrates a bubble-jet color printer. Put on display at the Canon Expo 2000 event that was held in Tokyo in late November, the Micro Bubble Jet Camera features both low power consumption and a compact structure. Only slightly larger than existing digital still cameras, it combines portability with increased functionality.
While most of the required technology is packed directly into the camera itself, special printer card packs are included to enable picture printing. Each printer card pack contains 10 sheets of credit-card-sized paper. Sufficient ink is provided to print 10 color images. The printer built into the camera structure extracts ink from the printer card pack and prints out an image in a matter of seconds (see the figure).
The printer component also can add a barcode strip along the edge of printed images. Speaking into an internally mounted microphone, users can record audio while simultaneously shooting an image. For example, users can describe the time and place the picture was taken. The barcode strip encodes the audio data. Once the barcode is scanned into a computer, users can replay the captured audio from the card.
Development of the Micro Bubble Jet Camera and associated technology is ongoing. Canon has announced no immediate plans to put the device on sale. For more information about this technology, visit www.canon.com.