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Brief Published: 5 Feb 2014

The Confession Machine

The Confession Machine

The Confession Machine is an LED printer that prints disappearing messages onto photosensitive paper using ultraviolet lights.

Created by Israeli artist Liat Segal, the machine’s LEDs are programmed to turn on and off at certain intervals to activate the photosensitive pigment, creating a temporary message on the paper’s surface that fades away after a few seconds.

The machine prints messages taken from social networks, and is designed to highlight our willingness to share personal information online. At points the “confession” fades away mid-sentence as another begins, reflecting the fleeting impact of such revelations as our online openness is devalued by overuse.

“I wanted to exaggerate the feeling of technology, in order to focus on the alleged dissonance between the online tech space and the extremely personal aspect of confession,” Segal explained to technology news website Gizmag. “Hence I used the 'low-tech' feeling that LED printing gives, rather than using a high resolution.”

The Confession Machine is a real-world imagining of popular mobile app Snapchat, which allows users to send images that last up to 10 seconds before self-destructing. The app has led the way in what Bill Gurney, partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Benchmark, called “anxiety about the permanence” of the web. For more, see New Startups: Tech Trends for 2014 and Smart Teens, part of our Industry Trend Redefine.