Trundling lidar-guided printerbot will find you and deliver your hardcopy

A Fuji-Xerox prototype printer-robot builds a model of the room and then drives itself to your desk to deliver your printouts, saving you the precious calories you'd waste, running around the office, trying to figure out which printer you sent your job to.

The article characterizes the printer's guidance as "Roomba-like" but it's quite the opposite -- instead of running a naive coverage algorithm, the printer uses its sensors to build maps of its environment. It's like a dead-tree version of the Shmoo Group's Hackerbot, which sniffed cleartext passwords on the Wifi network, then located their owners and displayed their leaked passwords on a large, embarrassing screen.

When the robot receives a print job, it automatically begins to move toward the desk being used by the person who sent the order. Because it knows where in the lounge it is running, it stops near the desk.

The print job starts only after the user holds the card up to the robot. Therefore, the printed paper does not come out when the robot is moving in the lounge. As a result, business papers, etc will not be seen by others even in a public space like a lounge.

The robot houses a color laser printer of Fuji Xerox. It can handle sheets of up to A4 size. And it is the company's smallest printer. On the top of the robot, a tablet computer is mounted. When the user presses the "start moving" button displayed on it after the printing job is done, it automatically goes back to the "home position" in a corner of the lounge.

'Robot Printer' Autonomously Moves Around Lounge [Tomonori Shindou/Nikkei Computer]

(via Engadget)