Designed by Zuta Labs and now on Kickstarter, the Mini Mobile Robotic Printer is one for the mobile age. It cleverly sheds the bulk of consumer printing by re-imagining what a printer actually is.
Printers, of course, are annoyingly big pieces of hardware that remain tethered to our desktops, a particular insult while other gadgets become ever more mobile. The prime factors of printer bloat are the giant reservoirs of ink and toner needed to power them. Add to that the requirement that a printer be at least as big as a ream of paper.
Let’s consider the issue more abstractly: What is a printer? It’s essentially a computerized hand: It looks at a document and writes it out, from left to right, on a page. Everything else is a perk. With the Mini Mobile, Zuta Labs realized that a printer doesn’t actually need to be any bigger than your hand. As long as it can trail ink from left to right across a page, a printer can be as small as you want it to be.
The Mini Mobile, then, is almost like a tiny Roomba that squirts ink. To print out a document, you take the Mini Mobile out of your bag and position it at the top of a piece of paper. Using intelligent software and sophisticated motors, the Mini Mobile then roams across the piece of paper, placing ink wherever a document tells it to. For multi-page documents, you simply pick up the Mini Mobile and place it on a fresh piece of paper when you need to. It’s not fast–the Mini Mobile only prints 1.2 pages per minute. Still, it works, and, critically, it’s portable.
When it launches, the Mini Mobile will wirelessly support Android, iOS, Windows, OS X, and Linux, so you should be able to print to it from everything. A single inkjet cartridge will last for more than 1,000 pages, and you should be able to print out roughly 60 pages per charge. Each Mini Mobile printer will cost about $135.
You can pre-order the Mini Mobile Robotic Printer here.