Robot printer PPrintee drives itself and fits in your pocket

PPrintee Lab is trying to raise $330,000 on to develop a prototype portable printer that drives itself around a piece of paper as it prints. Ultimately they want to take the device to market sometime next year.

The PPrintee printer is a unique little device measuring 125 x 80 x 32.5 mm (5 x 3.1 x 1.3 inches) and weighs roughly 300 grams (10.5 ounces). What makes the PPrintee printer different is the fact that when you place it on a piece of paper and initiate a print job the device lifts itself up on retractable wheels, wanders around looking for the page’s edges, positions itself and begins printing by rolling up, down and across the page.

Like just about everything these days, it can be controlled remotely using a smartphone or tablet and comes with its own app. It can print on any type or any size paper and should hold enough ink to print up to 200 pages with a single cartridge. The device should sell for somewhere around $300 and if their crowdfunding attempt and development process goes according to plan they hope to start shipping in the middle of 2015.

According to the company’s page:

The process is very simple. PPrintee gets to work as soon as a print order is received. It literally moves on the paper, measuring its edges, it positions itself and then it starts printing. If several pages need to be printed, PPrintee asks you to change the paper or it searches for another piece of blank paper nearby. 

This amazing device generates fluid movements that are perfectly synchronized with the speed of printing. Thanks to an advanced motion system that works closely with a pair of integrated scanning modules, PPrintee performs fully coordinated movements during the entire printing process.

These two scanning modules are PPrintee’s eyes. They see, while the printer thinks. They send feedback during the entire printing process and help PPrintee make decisions and correct its actions.

The print head moves fast enough to obtain a high fluidity in printing on the paper. Behind PPrintee’s fluid movements, there is a combination of advanced wheel mechanics and mobile cylinders, both activated by micro-engines.

The wheels can make 360 degrees turns and they can also emerge or retract inside the cylinders. This is how PPrintee is able to lift or to lower its position.

It seems like a clever idea…if they can get it to work that is. As of now the company doesn’t have a working prototype so it’s still just a design concept and I think, if you ask just about every company who develops inkjet printers they would tell you that it’s not a trivial task. Hopefully the company has done enough research to prove that this type of approach can actually work.

Check out their page here.