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This Adorable Robot Is Like a Roomba That Prints Documents

Rather than feed the paper through the printer, why not just put the printer on wheels?

smithsonian.com

Americans are, increasingly, working from home. Whether small business owners, freelance workers or regular old telecommuters, more and more of us are working from home offices, coffee shops or even bars. And although many of these workers usually need only a laptop and smartphone, every once in a while, it's necessary—and nice—to print out contracts, leases or other formal documents. 

Over on Kickstarter, a company called ZUtA Labs is raising money (they're nearly at their goal) to create the last piece of a portable office—a little robot printer, a Roomba-esque thing that drives around on a sheet of paper and prints as it goes.

“Print machines now-a-days are essentially a printhead running left and right on a moving piece of paper. We asked ourselves, why not get rid of the entire device, just put the printhead on a set of small wheels and let it run across a piece of paper. By doing so, we allow the printer to really be as little as possible,” the team writes.

Unlike some projects that take to Kickstarter once they're more or less finished and just looking for a marketing bump, the robot printer still has some kinks to be worked out, says Wired UK. The team hasn't figured out, for instance, how to teach the printer to reorient itself if it gets moved mid-way through a job.

At $200 a pop the little robot won't exactly be the most economical solution for your once-in-a-while printing needs. But, it's an innovative solution to an increasingly common problem, and, just maybe, a foreshadowing of the demise of the oft-hated office printer.

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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