In today’s digital world going paperless is one of the hottest trends around. Unfortunately for many, paper still exists and some stuff still gets produced in hard copy—for a while, especially in certain industries, there won’t be any getting around it. If you need to make the transition from hard to soft, lugging around a scanner isn’t all too practical. That is, if we’re talking about a classic scanner. Because if you haven’t heard, there is a nifty little product called, PocketScan; it’s the world’s smallest wireless scanner. It’s barely larger than a business card and weighs little more than a fluffy croissant.
Unlike traditional scanners which are limited to scanning flat sheets of paper (most other “portable scanners” require you to feed an 8 1/2 x 11 through it), PocketScan can be used to scan really any relatively flat surface of any size. This is made possible with the company’s patented real-time image processing software powering the device and piecing together the digital renderings. Four-foot tall map, note on a bar napkin, magazine article; it doesn’t really matter.
The companion mobile app has built-in optical character recognition (OCR) which enables users to instantly take scanned content and turn it into editable content. Text instantly turns into Microsoft Word documents, data in tables is easily converted into Excel spreadsheets, and it even translates foreign languages in real-time, with character recognition for 130 languages.
The Bluetooth connectivity makes it compatible with a variety of devices including PCs, Macs, iOS, and Android devices. One battery charge will get you about 400 scans. You can purchase the device online for $149 a piece. Honorable mention: they also sell a small scanner in the form of a computer mouse—that gadget is running for $79. For an alternative, you can check out the VuPoint Magic Wand, but it’s not as tiny. Which means it’s not as cool.
Dacuda, the makers of PocketScan, raised $542,732 via crowdfunding a few years back through the Kickstarter platform. They have also raised an undisclosed amount from Wellington Partners, Schwyzer Kantonalbank (a Swiss bank), Hans-Peter Metzler (a serial entrepreneur in Austria), and others.
Now, for those times you need a printer of similar physical stature (how many times have you forgotten to print something before you went somewhere), someone is on top of that too. ZUtA Labs, a startup out of Isreal, has developed the world’s first miniature, pocket-sized robotic printer. At just 10.2cm diameter and a 350g weight, you could walk around with both your PocketScan and your ZUta printer with plenty of room left for a set of keys and a smartphone. Imagine what you could do with cargo shorts???
When printing multiple pages, the device knows to stop at the bottom of each physical page. From there the user aligns the device on the top left of the next page. Once positioned the user simply taps on the app, from their mobile phone, and the printer continues on its merry way.
The device is designed to print 1 to 1.2 pages per minute, last a full hour on a battery charge, and knock out at least 100 pages on a single ink cartridge. At the moment it’s limited to just printing on standard sheets of paper. The device offers 300dpi print quality (yes, it can handle images), Micro USB charging, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The printer is compatible with Android, iOS, OSX, and Windows.
ZUtA Labs is currently accepting pre-orders through their website for $299.00 per unit, plus $15 for shipping. Individual print cartridges sell for $19.90 and a pack of two costs $29.90. The estimated shipping date for the first batch is early 2017.
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