HP has come up with a new use for its inkjet technology: you can use it to give people inkjections (see what we did there?).
The firm has signed a deal with Irish medical firm Crospon to develop a "skin patch" complete with teeny-tiny needles for controlled, and painless, delivery of a variety of drugs.
They say that a single, microchip-controlled skin patch could be used to deliver more than one kind of treatment, and that the doses and timing could be very precisely controlled, and even respond to a patient's vital signs.
HP explains that the technology used to develop the micro-needles is similar to that used in the manufacture of inkjet cartridges.
Crospon will pay royalties to HP in return for a licence to commercialise the patch, and make it available to pharmaceutical companies to use in various therapeutic areas. The patch itself was invented at HP Labs, the company’s central research facility.
HP's four-year-old licensing arm is behind the deal. Since its establishment, the company has seen a massive increase in revenues from its existing IP portfolio. Joe Beyers, vice-president, intellectual property licensing, said that revenues from IP have grown ten times.
He said that the deal with Crospon was breathing new life into mature technology.
All very exciting, but we're most taken with the following question: could it be that HP has finally found a way to fill its inkjet technology with liquids more expensive than its vintage Champagne-price-tagged superinks? ®