This Machine Prints Portraits With Coffee

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We’ve all seen printers use ink, and if you’ve been to a Maker Faire you may have been lucky enough to see a machine printing with chocolate or pancake batter. RIT Assistant Professor Ted Kinsman decided that he wanted to print with coffee. “For many years I have thought about building a machine that could paint for me,” he says. “Since I always have leftover coffee, I thought it would be a fun medium to play with.” Using an Arduino and an x-y plotter, he’s been able to do just that.

He explains, “The machine allows experimentation with drip height, drip size, drip chemistry, spacing of drips, and especially the paper that the drips fall on – all of these affect the image results.” An Arduino can store an image of about 80×100 pixels. This resolution isn’t high enough to print discernible images of most objects but, “surprisingly,” says Kinsman, “this is enough data for a human to recognize a face.”

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