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They were also called “132-column printers”. A video showing an inkjet printer while printing a page. In computing, a printer is a peripheral device which makes a persistent human-readable representation of graphics or text on paper. The first electronic printer was the EP-101, invented by Japanese company Epson and released in 1968.
The first commercial printers generally used mechanisms from electric typewriters and Teletype machines. The demand for higher speed led to the development of new systems specifically for computer use. In the 1980s were daisy wheel systems similar to typewriters, line printers that produced similar output but at much higher speed, and dot matrix systems that could mix text and graphics but produced relatively low-quality output. The plotter was used for those requiring high quality line art like blueprints.
Inkjet systems rapidly displaced dot matrix and daisy wheel printers from the market. 100 price point and became commonplace. The rapid update of internet email through the 1990s and into the 2000s has largely displaced the need for printing as a means of moving documents, and a wide variety of reliable storage systems means that a “physical backup” is of little benefit today.
Even the desire for printed output for “offline reading” while on mass transit or aircraft has been displaced by e-book readers and tablet computers. Today, traditional printers are being used more for special purposes, like printing photographs or artwork, and are no longer a must-have peripheral.
Starting around 2010, 3D printing became an area of intense interest, allowing the creation of physical objects with the same sort of effort as an early laser printer required to produce a brochure. These devices are in their earliest stages of development and have not yet become commonplace. Personal printers are primarily designed to support individual users, and may be connected to only a single computer. These printers are designed for low-volume, short-turnaround print jobs, requiring minimal setup time to produce a hard copy of a given document.
However, this is offset by the on-demand convenience. Some printers can print documents stored on memory cards or from digital cameras and scanners.