Israeli entrepreneurs’ pocket printer seeks to revolutionize ‘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 seems to have missed 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.”
“I’m always working on the go from my smartphone, tablet, and laptop in random places, and when I wanted to print something—a memo before or after a meeting, a term sheet, short contract, or even an essay for school—I had to run and look for a printer or wait until I got home or to the office,” he said. “When I went online to look for a portable printer, I only found printers that are either too big to really carry around or too small to print on a standard A4 page [size].”
When Elbaum noticed that all of the printers needed to have paper fed through the device itself, 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 percent of what we wanted (more than half a million dollars), and included some big names, like Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple.”
While the pocket printer is still “a project in the making,” Elbaum said those who offered their financial backing “really wanted to be part of creating this product, which is incredible and [demonstrates] the true power of Kickstarter.” He hopes to “reward” those who contributed via Kickstarter by shipping them the first batch of the finished mobile printers in January 2015.