Stealthily, over more than a decade, a new kind of printer has been under development in Australia. The original vision was to create a printer small enough to fit inside a digital camera. Instead the research has yielded an ink-jet printer, dubbed the Memjet, that can print color photographs up to 30 times faster than any other printer.

Ink-jet printers, which dominate the desktop market, work by spraying drops of ink from nozzles onto a sheet. Conventional ink-jets shuffle their nozzles back and forth across paper like a shuttle would between threads in a loom.