The hole punch, hole puncher, holing pincer, paper puncher or perforator is a simple device that… punches holes in paper so that sheets can be stored together in a binder. It can be found mainly in schools and offices although often it is used as a ticket puncher to prove admission.
The origins of the device are fairly unclear or at least not confirmed. They can be traced back to 1886 when Friedrich Soennecken invented a metal device capable of punching holes in paper. He called it Papierlocher fur Sammelmappen. Fredrich received a patent on his design in Germany on 14th November 1886. The way the device worked was through a long lever used to push a bladed cylinder straight through a number if sheets of paper.
This classic design developed and changed over time when other inventors started to create their own versions of the machine. Benjamin Smith was the first to be granted the US patent. He called his device a conductor’s punch. His design used two metal pieces, attached by a spring, with a hole in the bottom one and a sharp cutting implement on the other end. The spring gave the it strength to cut through stacks of paper.
In 1893, another innovation was introduced by Charles Brooks who called his device a ticket punch. The design was similar to Smith’s but included a small jar, or a cannister, attached to the bottom part of the punch that held the waste pieces cut from the paper as they were pushed out. It resembled modern version of the hole punch. The machine kept improving over the years and by the end of twentieth century there were also some plastic hole punchers released to the market. The shapes of cutters also changed and it became possible to punch a hole in the shape of a heart or a star.
Since 2000 hole punchers have become more convenient and easy to use without having to apply much force. Pressure plate was developed which enabled the device to punch through an even bigger pile of paper as well as electronic hole punch that did not require manual labour at all. Manual lever spacer was also introduced which allowed users to change the size and spacing of the holes. It is now commonly used by many manufacturers.
Did you know…?
The little piece of paper that’s punched out of a hole puncher is called a ‘chad’
Aside from the classic one-hole, two-hole, three-hole and four-hole variations, there are also some hole punches designed to make five, six or even up to eight holes simultaneously!
One-hole punch is commonly used when making paper crafts, scrapbooks and confetti (Casey Larrain, the Guinness World Record holder, owns a collection based on 1,700 unique shapes)
Some artists use hole punch as tool in their projects (based on either making holes in a piece of material or using colourful chads to create impressive images)
Nokia filed vibrating tattoo alerts patent to the US Patent and Trademark Office. If the company follows up the patent vibrating magnetic tattoos may be used to notify mobile phone users when they receive phone calls and text messages. Magnetic tattoos could also replace passwords on Nokia’s future devices.
The idea described in the filing is to tattoo, stamp or spray user’s skin with ferromagnetic material and then pair it with a mobile device. According to Nokia’s patent a minor surgical procedure may be required if the technology was to be applied. Different kinds of vibrations could be used for various types of messages received: text message, multimedia message, phone call, alarm clock, battery level indication, change of profile, etc. In order to remove the ‘tingling sensation’ all the user would need to do is scratch the vibrating part. The application claims users could link the product to a variety of electronic devices (mobile phones, tablets, game consoles). The suggested places to apply magnetic marking would be an arm, finger, fingernail or abdominal area. ‘The magnetic field may cause vibration of one short pulse, multiple short pulses, few long pulses… strong pulses, weak pulses and so on.’ The filing also suggests that the magnetised marking could be used as an identity check users could create their own magnetic fingerprints.
A similar technology has been used by Samsung as well as HTC which launched mobile phones that vibrated slightly when user typed or pressed a button on a touch screen. Also, engineers from the University of Utah are currently developing a controller that uses haptic feedback via user’s thumbs to create sensations of waves, pulses and a bounce effect. However, although Nokia is not the first company to be investing in haptic feedback it definitely stands out with its idea to permanently, or semi-permanently, mark user’s skin.
‘Nokia’s patent suggests that their magnetic mark could be invisible – which might make this appealing to some. But in the immediate term I think users would draw the line at anything that is invasive like a tattoo or would be seen to have potential medical effects.’ So far there have been no health risks announced for the proposed device and a spokeswoman for Nokia has not yet confirmed whether Nokia intended to follow up its patent application with further research.
Despite its functionality and the impressive technology behind the device, Vlad Bobleanta, a writer for Unwired View considered the idea as plunging ‘into creepy territory.’ Also, it would not be appropriate for some professionals, like surgeon or a police man, due to its distracting features. The technology develops at an enormous rate and it will be interesting to see what technology giants will come up with next.
Kodak exits digital camera market as it struggles to compete with increasingly popular mobile phone cameras.
The decision came after the analysis of industry trends and it is expected to save about $100m a year. Therefore Kodak, which once held a dominant position in photographic film industry, is to stop making cameras as well as video cameras and digital picture frames. It plans to phase out the product lines in the first half of this year and look for other companies to license its brand for those products. This is a historic comedown for the company which brand name is still strongly associated with photography all over the world. The firm will now focus mainly on photo printing and commercial inkjet presses which prove more profitable. It has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on new lines of inkjet printers since 2005.
It seems ironic that, although Kodak invented and developed digital photo technology, it is now unable to keep pace with its much cheaper rivals in the Far East. This same technology, which can now be found in mobile phones and other digital devises, contributed to company’s failure. Its heavy financial reliance on film allowed rivals to take over the digital market. Perhaps if Kodak was more willing to shift from film to digital technology the crisis could have been avoided.
Exiting the industry is expected to cost the firm $30m, mainly related to separation costs as many jobs will be eliminated. The company is currently trying to sell its 1,100 patents which, it believes, are worth more than $1bn.
Also see: Kodak’s struggle for survival
Samsung is still involved in a dispute over patent rights with Apple. Recently, a Dutch appeals court has rejected Apple’s claim that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes Apple’s design patents. Some analysts view Samsung’s lawsuit as a response to Apple’s legal attack. The firm succeeded in having Samsung’s tablets banned from sale in Germany last year forcing it to redesign Galaxy Tab 10.1 for the German market. The ruling against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was upheld by the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court today. However, Samsung is still waiting for a decision whether it can continue to sell the new redesigned tablet in Germany, which is scheduled for early February.
Recently, everyone’s eyes have been turned towards Kodak and its struggle to stay in business.
This is a historic comedown for a firm that has been holding a dominant position in photographic film for decades. Its brand name is still recognised all over the world. The company once enjoyed a 90% market share and accounted for 85% of camera and 90% of film sales in America. The huge profits meant the firm could invest more in research and development. Unfortunately, extensive R&D contributed to Kodak’s fall as it ended up pioneering the very technology that threatened its survival. The digital technology was followed by the development of smartphones that destroyed Kodak’s old-film industry. The company was too slow to adapt to the changing trends as the shift to digital photography was massive and sudden.