Burning incense is a nice way to freshen the air and enjoy different scents in your home. If you’ve only experienced the skinny corndog type that smells like a detergent bomb went off, try the smaller solid stick type, and you’ll be born anew.

These are just sticks of dried organic matter paste, which led me to wonder if they could be extruded 3D-printer style into any shape. They’re already formed into coils for long burn times at temples, so why not take things too far? The world needs The Princenser.

Shapes aplenty

One application for this customized incense printing is a clock, with repeating features that can be counted to read off the time. Because the remaining features would really be a countdown to some desired time, this would be especially good for New Year’s Eve, night-before-birthday, etc.

Depiction of an incense

This would probably require a home, or at least local, printer because the rate at which incense burns depends on factors like humidity. The clocks would be printed a day or less in advance for a particular area to scale it just right for the weather.

Dynamic scent

With a bit more mechanical finesse, the printer could introduce different scents in different quantities over time. These dynamic scent sticks could be created as artisanal narratives or packaged with albums or films. In theory these could be produced in traditional factories, but artists need their own printers to experiment!

Some people like coffee naps, in which you consume caffeine before napping so that you wake up after a set time feeling energized. Imagine a Nap Stick: You light it and drift off to a light bouquet of pleasant scents, which after 20 minutes transition to a stimulating scent like citrus or lava.

Diagram of a nap stick


The Princenser 3.0 would have the self-control to allow incense to be burned while the other end is being continually extended at the same rate, far enough away for the material to dry, producing an infinite burn. Its path could be a sensible circle or something more complex, even interactive like a slow game of Snake.

If this whole incense printer concept were considered as a metaphor for humanity, this is the feature we’re currently implementing.