Inkjet Printers and the Olympic games? Nov 18, 2011 12:00 by Mike Derges
The story starts in the early 60’s, up until now timekeeping for official Olympic events was usually conducted by a Swiss gentleman with a stopwatch. When the Games went to Japan in 1964 the Olympic Committee selected the Japanese company Sura Seikosha, the makers of the SEKIO brand of watches, to time all of the events.
This was around the time when computing was really kicking off and the sub-division that Seikosha tasked with timing the Games made the choice to use a computer system for more accurate and reliable time measurements. Working in this area allowed the team to progress in the areas of LCD screen and Quartz timing technology but that wasn’t the biggest outcome.
The use of a computer system to time the events enabled more accurate and reliable by cutting out the human error from the timings, the only problem it presented was that they had to get the data from their screens and onto paper quickly and clearly. While there were printers on the market, mostly being made by IBM and Xerox, the other offerings were large and difficult to transport. This project lead to the Seikosha team to develop a small device.
The printer worked amazingly for the games but it wasn’t until afterwards that they realised what they’d created. Four years later Seikosha released a printer based heavily on the printers that had been created for the Olympics, the EP-101. The 101 was well received and in 75 Epson America was formed (son of the EP).
The EP-101 is still an incredibly popular printer, it’s undergone a number of revisions but is still easy to see the link to it’s fore-bares. At the start of September Epson celebrated the shipping of its 300000000th mini-printer. Today, Epson’s mini-printers still see service in a wide variety of areas ranging from supermarkets to banks and hundreds of high-street outlets of various chains.