Pocket-sized printer creates documents by rolling across pages

This teardrop shaped portable printer from Israeli studio Zuta Labs wirelessly prints documents from tablets, smartphones or desktop computers.

Mini Mobile printer by Zuta Labs

Shaped like the droplet colour icon used on many domestic printers to indicate ink levels, the Mini Mobile is a pocket-sized device that can print remotely using a bluetooth connection.

It was developed by former students of the Jerusalem College of Technology, who felt frustrated by the lack of portability in today's printers.

The team did some research into mobile printers, finding nothing that really suited their needs. So they decided to build their own.

Mini Mobile printer by Zuta Labs
The portable printer can connect to smartphones via bluetooth

"Being students, we worked on our laptops in different places, libraries, classrooms, cafes, trains and out in the sunshine," explained a member of the team.

"We were able to do so because we had everything we needed with us on our phone or laptop. Yet, we always found ourselves struggling to find a place to print once the work was done."

Measuring ten centimetres high and 11.5 centimetres in diameter, the Mini Mobile weighs 300 grams and comfortably fits into the palm of a hand.

The device connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to smartphones or PCs. When activated a hatch underneath the printer slides open, revealing the inkjet.

Mini Mobile printer by Zuta Labs
The Mini Mobile works by rolling across the page and printing each line individually

The user then places the Mini Mobile onto a piece of paper, using the teardrop's pointed shape to align it with the top of the page.

Using an omni wheel system that allows it to move in multiple directions, it rolls across the page, printing in a grey-scale. When it reaches the end, the device moves down the page and continues on to the next line.

The machine uses a high resolution optical sensor to control movement, speed and placement of the robot.

"We asked ourselves, 'why not get rid of the entire device, just put the printhead on a set of small wheels and let it run across a piece of paper'. By doing so, we allow the printer to really be as little as possible," the team said.

The device also knows when multiple pages require printing, sending a message to the user's laptop to place the machine on to another piece of paper.

Mini Mobile printer by Zuta Labs

The inkwell inside is capable of printing 1000 pages before needing to be replaced, and the battery will allow continual use for up to an hour.

The machine will print 1.2 pages per minute at a resolution of up to 96 by 192 dots per inch, but the team hopes to increase the speed when the device goes into commercial production.

Made from polycarbonate and available in matte black or white, each Mini Mobile has a thin illuminated blue strip to indicate when it is switched on.

At present, the Mini Mobile is a proof-of-concept, and Zuta Labs are currently raising funds on Kickstarter.