The Espresso Book Machine. This isn’t the first time that we’ve covered on-demand printing machines, but maybe this time something will come of it. The machine is the black perspex block on the top right, which is hooked up to two standard laser printers. It can produce a single 148 page book on demand in 8 minutes, from an order placed locally or via the Internet. Video here (the interesting bit is in the last third of the footage when you see the machine work) and here’s a clearer video of the Perfect Book prototype.
The cover is printed separately, then glued to the book block and the whole thing is trimmed before dropping out of the slot. Watching this technology is rather like witnessing the Wright Bros in their early development cycle. It works, but you know that a) the final product is going to be radically different/smaller/faster etc and b) the tech may morph significantly before this particular print production version makes it big (i.e. electronic paper books or similar).
The key thing about this product, however, is that it is actually installed and working in a few premises on beta test. The developers, OnDemandBooks, claim that it will cost less than $100,000 to buy, which will make it a very viable commercial proposition for would-be Amazon.com printers. [Via Metafilter]