April 21, 2024
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Pocket Printer Revolutionizes “Left Behind” Device

Living in the fast-paced world of evolving mobile technology, two young Israeli entrepreneurs have invented what they hope will revolutionize the one device that they feel “got left behind” and seemed to miss the mobile revolution train: the printer.

Tuvia Elbaum and Matan Caspi, both 29 and students at the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT), are the designers of the world’s first truly practical and operational mobile printer. Known as the “Mini Mobile Robotic Printer,” and slated to be available to the general public in 2015, the printer—measuring 10-by-11.5 centimeters and weighing only 300 grams—will allow students, business professionals, and anyone in need to print their work from any location.

Elbaum told JNS.org that he came up with the idea for a pocket printer “from my day-to day life.”  When Elbaum noticed that all portable printers needed to have paper fed through the device itself, he said he thought, “Hey, why not put the cartridge on a robot and let it run around by itself, and that will allow the printer to be really small and yet print on any size of paper?”

Elbaum and Caspi were able to pursue their innovation after being accepted into an elite program at JCT known as The Friedberg Program for Entrepreneurial Excellence, which gives students the opportunity to advance entrepreneurial ideas from the “exploratory” to the “concrete” stages—offering them financial assistance, mentoring, workshops, and more in order to help make their ideas become a reality. The pair of entrepreneurs then formed a new company called ZUtA Labs Ltd., and launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, which according to Elbaum “succeeded in raising over 125% of what we wanted (more than half a million dollars), and included some big names, like Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple [Computer].”

While the pocket printer is still “a project in the making,” he hopes to “reward” those who contributed via Kickstarter by shipping them the first batch of the finished mobile printers in January 2015.

Also helping the entrepreneurs’ cause were rave revues the device received at the Microsoft Israel Corporation’s prestigious “ThinkNext” technology fair, recently held in Tel Aviv.

In terms of how the printer works from a practical perspective, Elbaum said it is “just like any other printer.” One’s mobile device, such as a smartphone or laptop, will “recognize it as a printer and connect through Bluetooth,” he said.

The printer features an inkjet cartridge that will last for more than 1,000 printed pages, and a battery that allows for more than one hour of use per full charge.

Shimmy Zimels, who heads the Friedberg entrepreneurship program at JCT, told JNS.org that the venture of Elbaum and Caspi “is a great achievement” and that they “seized the opportunity we gave them” through the program. Zimels—himself the CEO of SunDwater.com, an Israeli company that converts polluted water into clean water—said he believes that the Friedberg program, launched in 2012, “helped push [Elbaum to Caspi] out of the gate. “We were a small accelerator to help them start their business,” he said. But Zimels repeatedly stressed that Elbaum and Caspi, not the Friedberg program, should be given the credit for the invention.

Elbaum, Caspi, and the staffers at ZUtA Labs have already come up with several additions to the printer and are working on designs for other innovative products. But in the meantime, his plate is full with the launch of the robotic printer. He said, perhaps only half-jokingly, that on top of everything else he “still has one class to complete in order to graduate” from JCT.

By Josh Hasten/JNS.org

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