Robotic Printer Fits In Your Pocket

Imagine a pocket-size printer that can still print on any size paper, runs on batteries and connects to mobile devices as well as computers. Sounds pretty cool, right? The Mini Mobile Robotic Printer by ZUtA Labs claims to do just that, and it's currently on Kickstarter, starting at $180.

Unlike other printers, the Mini Mobile Robotic Printer doesn't have a print tray or a place to feed paper. In fact, ZUtA Labs, a Jerusalem, Israel-based startup, describes it as essentially a print head mounted on wheels. The printer rolls across the paper, laying down ink as it goes.

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The Mini Mobile Robotic Printer is a tear-shaped cylinder about 4 inches high and 4.5 inches across. It connects to Android and iOS mobile devices as well as, Linux, OS X and Windows computers via USB or Bluetooth, and has a polycarbonate cover that comes in either white or black.

The Pocket Printer, as it's also called, uses a high-resolution optical laser sensor to detect its position on the page. ZUtA Labs says that the printer's weight will hold the paper steady, and its slow speed will ensure minimal smudging or other errors.

The final prototype will be able to fill an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet paper in less than a minute, though it can print on any size paper, or even surfaces other than paper. However, it is limited by its battery life of one hour.

The first round of Mini Mobile Robotic Printers will print in grayscale only, though ZUtA Labs says on its Kickstarter page that it plans to release a full-color version in the near future. The Mini Mobile Robotic Printer also uses standard HP print cartridges, so buying new ink is no more expensive than with most other home printers.

"There's one office tool that is still stuck behind, that hasn't changed in the past decade and isn't mobile: the printer," said ZUtA Labs in its Kickstarter video. It seems that plenty of people agree: The Mini Mobile Robotic Printer is already well on its way to being funded on Kickstarter, with more than half of its $400,000 goal achieved just a few days into the Kickstarter campaign.

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Jill Scharr is a creative writer and narrative designer in the videogame industry. She's currently Project Lead Writer at the games studio Harebrained Schemes, and has also worked at Bungie. Prior to that she worked as a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide, covering video games, online security, 3D printing and tech innovation among many subjects.