Why do printer cartridges have chips?

Why Do Ink Cartridges Have Chips?Many of you reading this blog will have a printer next to you as you read this and you will also have probably bought an ink cartridge at some point. But have you ever wondered why a lot of modern printer cartridges have chips?

Well first of all let’s have a look into what types of cartridges have smart chips. There are two types of cartridges: Ink Tanks and Ink Cartridges.

Ink tanks are those that just there to hold the ink, they don’t usually have any circuitry, they just plug into your printer and the ink gets fed to a print-head. Ink cartridges usually have a print-head built in and are sort of the ‘all-in-one’ of the printer world.

It is the printer cartridges that have print-heads built in that usually have chips or circuitry on them. They do so for a number of reasons…

Printer Cartridge Smart ChipPrimarily in this type of cartridge they are used so that the printer can communicate with the built in print-head and are necessary for the printer to work. As well as this they communicate other things to the printer such as ink levels.

This is were a lot of people run into trouble, it can be very frustrating when your printer starts telling you that the ink levels are low but in fact you know that there’s still some juice left in there! This is due to the fact that the cartridge doesn’t actually know how much ink is in the cartridge, it just counts down how many pages you have printed.

Another way the chip is used is to, in some cases, stop the cartridge being re-filled by third party companies. Some manufacturers just simply don’t like people re-using their cartridges as this usually means a loss for them, so once one of their cartridges runs out of ink, the cartridge will remember that it has no ink in even if it has been re-filled.

So that little chip on the bottom of your cartridge does a lot really… both good and bad. If you wish to learn more about printers and ink have a look at the blog of the firm I work for, which can be found on our printer cartridge site.

Tesco launches supermarket sat nav

Ever got lost in a supermarket? If so Tesco have now come to the rescue!

If you can’t seem to find those baked beans, you could soon be able to use a sat nav to help! Yes it’s the same sort of technology that you have in your car but it comes in the form of a smartphone.

Currently Tesco are trialing a new app for Google Android powered smartphones which allows you to enter your shopping list and then the phone will give you directions to the isle and shelf that you can find your items in. Pretty impressive huh?

Tesco LogoThe idea is that it saves you time, meaning you can be in and out much faster. This could make supermarkets less crowded in the future, which could mean less space is needed for people and more for food and other goods.

One of the key ways in which supermarkets like Tesco and Asda make their money however is when people spot products on the way to finding their next item. Often ‘special offer’ products will be placed in areas of the shop that you are bound to walk past and notice.

This behavior from the supermarkets has left some critics believing that supermarkets may program the device to take the ‘scenic route’ in order to get you to buy more, rather than get out quicker.

If you live in Essex, Tesco’s Extra stores in the area are currently trialing the system, so be sure to check it out and leave us a comment 🙂


Because the application is still under development, you have to apply to a testing group to be able to try out the new technology. Soon however, if the service proves successful, Tesco hope to role it out in all of its stores and on multiple platforms – Blackberry and iPhone being the next most obvious systems.

What do you think, could this really improve your shopping experience, or is the way forward online shopping anyway?

What do we need to know about nanotechnology?

As you may already know, nanosciences innovative advances encompass technology, medicine and manufacturing and so affect our world to more and more of an extent. Some in the scientific community are hesitant to endorse the developments and wonder about the consequences of these advances.

However, fascination surrounding this field, and lets not forget excitement over the potential for profit, is at the forefront and pushing nanoscience forward.

Nano-Imaging

When we think of a nanometer, we need to wrap our minds around the fact that this is a measurement of a substance 100,000 times smaller than a single human hair. Before any form of mass production using these substances is in place, researchers need to accurately image them to learn of their topography and composition. Observation of nanomaterials is achieved by impressively powerful microscopes. The atomic force microscope (AFM) provides for extremely high (nanometer) resolution.

Nanotechnology being used in medicine

Nanotechnology being used to modify red blood cells

Today we hear of many developments and new manners of operation devised for the AFM paving the way for serious strides in nanotechnology. Therefore, with advances in nano-imaging comes progressive research and subsequent manufacturing which has benefits as well as potential risks.

First of all, industry, research bodies and governments are not aware of the amount of nanomaterials being produced. Without knowing these amounts, how is it possible to know the amount of potential exposure and therefore risks?

Does the law protect us now?

Governments do have regulations and guidelines but new materials like these have proven difficult to classify and sometimes are grouped together with already existing materials and so not independently classified at all. Other countries are already climbing aboard the nanotechnology bandwagon in a big way and governments need to properly regulate the importation of products containing these materials. How much to regulate leads to much discussion. The “bottom line” question needs to be answered…. “Is nanotechnology going to do more harm than good?”

All in all, the most basic risk assessments cannot be made because of a lack of information. Without appropriate analysis, we cannot have adequate laws.

What are our concerns?

Communities are becoming more ‘green’ in their approach to environmental issues. Concerns are valid over the potential these substances have to contaminate our water supplies or potentially harm plants and animal populations. After all, environmental sustainability is the only option and so, industry must always remain accountable.

The potential risks to human health and the environment differ greatly from risks associated with conventional materials which exhibit different characteristics.

Scientists are at work to increase their understanding of how nanomaterials interact with biological systems such as cell membranes so as to minimize any adverse effects. However, nanomaterials are still marketed commercially by the ton. They are in our cosmetics, sunscreens and lotions, car wax, paints and clothing. As research progresses and findings can be marketed in products, the list grows. The threat of potential toxicity of nanomaterials entering our tissues and cells exists and there could be real health implications.

Industry cannot allow for health, environmental or ethical concerns to decrease or halt the progress of nanotechnology. There is an agenda here – in the end it is much to do with a fat wallet.

Developments in this field are exciting but at what cost?
The point here is, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask the questions that matter.

For further reading, check out my article on nanotechnology on my site Microscope Master. Links in my bio.

The existence of dark energy is confirmed

The universe is too light. What?! Well, scientists have worked out how much the universe should weigh and how much substance it should contain, given the weight of matter, the size (height, length and breadth) of the universe and the time of it’s existence.

But, there is a problem. It is too light, and doesn’t have nearly enough substance. It is thought that ordinary matter such as stars, planets and gases only make up around 4% of the total weight of the universe. So where is the rest of it coming from?


That’s what scientists very recently think they have discovered. For a long time now there have been theories about so called ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ making up the difference, but until now, no actual proof.

However, the results from a major astronomical survey, which used the latest in hi-tech scientific technology and research methods to observe over 200,000 galaxies, appear to have confirmed the existence of dark energy.

The existence of dark energy appears to explain why the universe is expanding at an increasing rate. From what I understand, this is because the energy to some extent almost defies gravity, so if you were to throw a tennis ball, instead of eventually slowing down to a stop, dark energy would continue to increase the speed of the ball.

Scientists now believe that normal matter makes up around 4% of the universes weight, dark matter makes up around 22% and dark energy makes up the other 74%.

The matter that makes up the universe

A pie chart showing the percentages of the substances that make up the universe

We now have some proof of the existence of dark matter and dark energy, however there is still a very long way to go yet, before we discover the true secrets of our universe…

That is if we ever do!