Need To Print Something On The Go? This Pocket-Sized Robot's Got You Covered!

In our increasingly portable society, traditional desk-bound printers seem more archaic with each passing day. Although a few mobile printers have popped up in recent years, none of them have proven particularly interesting and intriguing. Well...until today, anyway.

Students Tuvia Elbaum and Matan Caspi often found themselves with the need to print documents while away from their desks - and they usually didn't have the time to seek out a computer lab or public printer. The two decided it was high time they invest in something more mobile, and took a look around to see what the market had to offer. Unfortunately, it wasn't much - none of the available mobile printers really caught their eye, partially because of how restricted they were in terms of paper size. 

So they did what any good entrepreneurial team would after seeing nobody offered what they needed: they founded a start up and invented their own solution; a bidirectional robot which houses an ink cartridge and printing components. 

The Pocket Printer - as far as I'm aware, that's the invention's official name - weighs 300 grams, and measures in at 10 centimeters high and 11 centimeters in diameter. Since it's capable of moving under its own power, it's able to print on sheets of virtually any size. This gives it a distinctive advantage over competing models, which are restricted to A4 (portrait). 

Even though the invention won't be available until sometime in 2015, it's already a hit. With four days left in its Kickstarter campaign, Elbaum and Caspi's startup ZUtA Labs has raised $480,000. Preliminary sales through the campaign have set the printer's price at $180; when it officially launches, it'll retail at $240.

"Nowadays, people don't print as often as before - we're moving toward a paperless world. But there are still times when you need to print - like when students need to print something out before class, or an entrepreneur working in a café needs to print out a page or two," Elbaum told Haaretz

The biggest challenge for the two developers, Elbaum continued, was orientation. They needed to find a way to ensure that lines on the paper would be straight rather than diagonal. Eventually, the team settled on having the printer begin its work from the top corner of the page - that way, they could ensure that it stayed properly aligned.

The Pocket Printer is fully compatible with most mobile devices and PCs, and comes equipped with a rechargeable battery, as well. Although it can currently only print in black and white, a color model is likely coming at some point in the future.

Although we may be moving towards a completely digital society, we haven't reached that point just yet. Most of us still need to print a document now and then - whether it's an essay for school, a contract for a client or a financial document for an employer. Rather than tethering people to their desks, the Pocket Printer will allow such documents to be printed anywhere, on any size of paper. 

ZUtA was founded about a year ago. It's not the first entrepreneurial venture carried out by Elbaum, who is alsothe founder and vice president of marketing for Umoove. Both Elbaum and Caspi took part in an entrepreneurship program at the Jerusalem College of Technology, where Reuven Ulmansky of Wadi Ventures served as their mentor. Since going live on Kickstarter, they've added two more engineers and a graphic designer to their team.