The Future of Printers... Robots?
It's an everyday office routine: you print a document from your computer, you walk to the printer and you wait. But now there's a new way and it involves a new robotic printer developed by Fuji Xerox. Yes that's right, a robotic printer.
Currently nameless, the prototype robotic printer can navigate an office and deliver documents to whomever printed them. Designed primarily for use in public places to help keep private documents private, the machine is guided by sensors, helping it not to bump into people or objects. And it's battery even lasts a whole day.
The printer has been tested in a Tokyo Business lounge. Each desk is given a unique web address to print from, users access the address and upload documents directly to be printed. The printer then receives the job to print. This is where conventional printers would stop, but the next action for the printer is to move to its recipient, request a smart card to be displayed, and then to print the documents. Once the printing is done, the user can tap a button mounted on the top of the printer which sends it back to await it's next job.
Though innovative and slightly charming, it's actual usefulness in the real world may be limited. Bryan Ma, an IDC analyst says “One might even argue that it seems more like technology for technology’s sake.” This is a sentiment shared by DC analyst Maggie Tan who says: "There are several mobile printing solutions available today that users can submit the print job online through their mobile devices or laptops and they are given a secured password to collect their printouts."
Well, whatever the actual usefulness of the nameless printer delivery robot, I think we'd all secretly like to own one really, though sadly, there is no word on whether or not we can expect to see the robot printer in UK offices and business lounges anytime soon.