And here I thought Xerox was for copying body parts at the office Xmas party. Turns out, printing technology is very flexible and researchers are trying to adapt it to various applications such as water purification machines and printing solar panels.
There’s also a bit of history on PARC (Palo Alto Research Center):
PARC is one of the older–and more productive–industrial incubators. Xerox founded it in 1970, and 30 companies have been spun out of it. Inventions from the lab include the mouse, Ethernet, the Alto (the archetype of the PC), the laser printer, and, ignominiously, the computer worm. It was also one of the first industrial organizations to employ anthropologists and ethnographers. Xerox wanted to know how people actually interacted with copiers (besides hitting them and swearing at them).
I didn’t know private industry did this, perhaps these centers operate in the background and we just don’t hear about them very often.