Israeli printing firm Zuta Labs has developed an intuitive, pocket-sized printing device. The pint-sized printer is controlled via Bluetooth from a tablet or smartphone and scrolls its way across a page unaided. Zuta Labs hopes that the PocketPrinter will usher in a new era of smaller and more efficient print devices. If so, it will signal a move away from bulkier conventional printers and printer cartridges.
Zuta Labs’ logic for creating the PocketPrinter is simple:
‘Print machines now-a-days are essentially a print-head running on a moving piece of paper. Why can't we just put the print-head on a set of small wheels and let it run across a piece of paper?’
Packing a Pocket-Sized Printing Punch
Under the printer’s droplet-shaped body is a high resolution optical sensor that controls its movements and speed. The current model prints at around 1 page per minute which slow, to say the least, when compared with conventional printers. However, the PocketPrinter team insists that print speeds will increase as the product develops.
The pointed design of the printer is functional as well as aesthetic, acting as an alignment tool when it’s placed on the page. A clever omni-wheel system enables the PocketPrinter to move across the page in multiple directions. When it reaches the end of the page, the printer alerts the user to change page via their Bluetooth device.
PocketPrinter can print 1000 pages before the cartridge needs replacing and will run for an hour between charges. When PocketPrinter goes on sale next year, it is likely to cost around £140, which is a lot of money for a 1 page per minute mono printer. Zuta Labs is said to be working on a colour model, as well as increasing the print speed of the mono version.
Whether there’s a market for PocketPrinter is certainly open to debate and it has attracted some criticism. Stuart Miles, founder of gadget review site Pocket-lint said in a BBC article:
‘I personally can't see an effective use case that you would have above and beyond what is already available - boarding passes and stuff like that are moving to the phone.’ He then went on to say, ‘I think it would make more sense to target it at an educational market.’
The Push in Print
Despite the criticism, Zuta Labs is determined to push forward with PocketPrinter, having raised the £260,000 it needed through Kickstarter. According to the team at Zuta Labs, ‘The PocketPrinter is only the beginning!’ We’ll see.