Connected Objects

Postie connected thermal printer delivers printed messages from afar

Although mobile devices do a great job of helping people communicate with friends and family who live many miles away, there is just something special about custom, handwritten messages and drawings that people share with each other in person. That’s especially the case when there are kids involved.

Postie is a connected Bluetooth thermal printer that delivers small notes -– drawings or written messages — to family and friends who have downloaded a companion Android and iOS app. Before starting to send and receive messages, both the recipient and sender must install the app on their compatible smartphones. Next, the recipient must place the smartphone onto Postie to receive the messages.


PrintBoxie helps you think out of the box for mobile printing needs

It’s still sometimes a major hassle to print something from a mobile device regardless of whether a smartphone or tablet uses Android, iOS, Windows or another operating system.

PrintBoxie provides one solution to that issue, transforming USB printers into cloud-connected printers. Users just have to connect PrintBoxie to a wireless printer, email a document to the small black device’s email address, and connect PrintBoxie to a Wi-Fi network. Printing will be done automatically.

Cooking Maker/Development

PancakeBot batter printer whips up your favorite breakfast in different shapes

There’s no better way to start a morning than with the savory smell of pancakes fresh out the griddle, sizzling with buttery goodness. What could possibly be better? Well, how about a machine that prints pancake batter onto a griddle in any form you can dream up?

patent-claimedThat machine exists, and it’s called the PancakeBot. For some, the PancakeBot is a dream come true. Users, using either a Windows machine or a Mac, can trace out an original design and transfer it over to an SD card. From there, the SD card is inserted into the PancakeBot whereupon a specially designed vacuum and pressure system control the flow of batter to create a unique pancake. For users who don’t want to get bogged down in design, PancakeBot’s companion software comes with a number of pre-loaded designs. Operation wise, the PancakeBot is relatively straightforward as it doesn’t include Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. For some, though, the lack of connectivity options may be a huge negative. Interested backers can add this fun device to their kitchen for $179, with an estimated ship date of July 2015. The PancakeBot campaign is looking for $50,000 in funding by April 10.

The absence of some sort of flipping mechanism makes the idea of an entirely self-contained printing process too good to pass up in the products next iteration. For those looking for a more capable, well-rounded cooking appliance, take a look at the ChefBot instead.

Cell Phone Accessories Imaging

Shake your Polaroid picture with the SnapJet instant smartphone printer

No matter what kinds of digital advances are made in photography, instant film will always have its place in our collective hearts. Its immediate nature along with the iconic shaking necessary to dry off a fresh picture will always see people trying to incorporate it alongside new technology rather than letting technology render it obsolete. In no other product is this more true than SnapJet.

SnapJet is a high-quality, open source printer that produces Polaroid images with the help of any smartphone. It’s extremely slim and therefore portable, and above all easy to use. Simply navigate to the desired picture on the smartphone, place it screen down onto the printer, and SnapJet will do the rest — no app, wires, or connection of any kind necessary. The only thing a user will need is widely available Polaroid 300 or Fuji Instax film. When the analog nature of a Polaroid won’t cut it, send high-quality prints using LifePrint instead. In any case, the $129 SnapJet is expected to ship in November 2015 if the campaign behind it reaches $155,000.

Connected Objects Tech Accessories

iPod-like PPrintee drives around page to print on the go

The Premise. The printer has resisted the march of technology fairly well. The bulky, heavy devices have remained so as everything becomes mobile, and their feature set hasn’t changed much in the last twenty years. It’s time the printer made the jump into the smart age.

The Product. The PPrintee is a mobile printer that looks a bit like an original-model iPod and is just as pocket-friendly. With a display that can manage print jobs but also tell the latest news, weather, and social media updates while idle, the PPrintee is not just a one-trick pony. When it’s time to print, the PPrintee drives around the page determining the dimensions of the paper, and then drives around the page printing material at a rate of 1.5 pages per minute. If a job requires more than one page, PPrintee will even drive around looking for another piece of paper to print on or request that another paper be provided. Multiple PPrintees can even be synced together to complete a job more quickly. PPrintee is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows devices and jobs can be sent to the printer through wifi or Bluetooth to begin printing right away. The PPrintee can even be steered through the app to provide a printed signature or special touch on any job.

The Pitch. PPrintee is so early in development that sadly any shots of the printer in action are CG simulations of what to expect from the device. Still, its flexibility and ability to handle more than just simple mobile printing are exciting enough to warrant further consideration. PPrintee wants to collect $330,000 in funds to continue engineering the product and bring it to the public.

The Perks. The basic black PPrintee printer is available for $249 and is expected to release in August 2015. The white and orange models cost slightly more, while limited aluminum, titanium, and rounded PPrintee designs are available starting at $299 to launch a month later.

The Potential. Mobile printing is not a new concept, and devices like the Pocket Printer are already looking to revolutionize the market. While the PPrintee lacks the robotic whimsy of the Pocket Printer, it makes up for it in spades in terms of additional features. From the interactive screen display to the app that can send print orders to the printer to the planned color printer/scanner PPrintee planned later, the PPrintee looks to be better choice. The wait for this device is long enough however that a major printer manufacturer may just beat it to market.

Tech Accessories

Pocket Printer uses robotics to finally allow printing on the go

editors-choiceThe Premise. Everything is mobile now, as phones and tablets are capable of doing almost everything a desktop computer can accomplish — everything except print, that is. Though these devices certainly can print, most people don’t want to lug a big desktop printer around with them for documents. Portable options to date — at least those for a full-page — haven’t been all that portable.

The Product. The ZUtA Pocket Printer offers grayscale printing that lives up to its name in terms of size. The way the printer works is rather ingenious; one sets it upon the page and running along it robotically to print as it moves. Because of this design, the Pocket Printer can sync wirelessly to any phone, tablet, or laptop, and can print on paper of any dimensions. With a USB-rechargeable battery, the Pocket Printer can print for up to an hour on one charge and the inkjet lasts for over 1,000 pages.

The Pitch. Seeing the prototype of the ZUtA Pocket Printer in action is more like a proof of concept than a finished product. The barebones robot slowly slides its way across the page at a rate that’s a little difficult to watch, but the people behind the product are confident that by the time it releases it will perform much closer to people’s expectations of what a printer should do. For those interested in the how of this little device, the campaign photos do a great job of explaining the design and functionality of the Pocket Printer. ZUtA needs to raise $400,000 to complete prototyping and manufacturing.

The Perks. The Mars Black Pocket Printer is available for $200 and is expected to launch at the start of next year. Those who want the Titanium White model or a special Kickstarter-branded variant will have to pay a little extra, but will still get their product at the same time.

The Potential. In the campaign video, the designers mention that their target is to get the production model to print at a rate of a page per minute. That may not sound like much after we’ve all been spoiled by laser printers, but to have a device that small handle printing from any location, a minute per page is extremely reasonable. It may not actually fit in your pocket (at least your jeans pocket), but this approach to the issue of mobile printing makes a lot of sense and may draw in people for the novelty factor before a future generation holds broader appeal.