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Printer Japan Robotics

Robot Printer Brings Documents To Your Desk 64

Posted by Soulskill
from the surprised-this-is-a-thing-but-also-surprised-it-wasn't-a-thing-already dept.
mrspoonsi sends this news from the BBC: Fuji Xerox has developed a new robotic printer that can move around a lounge or office to bring documents to the person who printed them. The printer is designed to be used primarily in public places as a way to keep sensitive documents secure. Sensors on the machine prevent it from bumping into people on the way. However, some analysts argued that the idea was not cost effective when compared with other secure printing methods. Fuji Xerox — a joint venture between the two firms — has been testing the printer this month at a business lounge in Tokyo. Each desk in the lounge is given a unique web address from which to print. Users access the address and upload documents to be printed. Once the printer receives the job, it moves to the intended recipient who then has to display a smart card to activate printing.
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Robot Printer Brings Documents To Your Desk

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  • Better Idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by raftpeople (844215) on Friday August 29, 2014 @03:23PM (#47786503)
    Why not automatically scan the printed document and email it to the person?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by LduN (3754243)
      becaue usually when you print a file, you already have file in digital format and thus want it in physical.
    • Re:Better Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by VorpalRodent (964940) on Friday August 29, 2014 @04:15PM (#47786843)
      But you can't then just leave the printed document in the tray. That's not secure. You need to have a shredding module attached so that after the email is sent the original can be destroyed.
      • by jc42 (318812)

        But you can't then just leave the printed document in the tray. That's not secure. You need to have a shredding module attached so that after the email is sent the original can be destroyed.

        Well, maybe, but neither the sender nor the recipient knows anything about the various other addresses that have received a copy of the document, plus information on the send/receive times.

        It's not clear how any of this could be made secure to either party's satisfaction. If the printer can decode the document and make a legible copy, it can also forward the electronic version of that copy (and/or the decoding keys) to a third party.

      • If you print on flash paper you can "burn before reading"...
        http://www.amazon.com/Burn-Before-Reading-Presidents-Intelligence/dp/0786886668 [amazon.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why reinvent the wheel for people who barely need to walk? Seriously, this is a solution for a problem that was solved years ago.

      If the browsers already have specific accounts on the printer, give each browser an access code to use to access their print cue at the printer and don't actually print the documents until the person is standing there to input the access code. I worked for a mortgage company for a few years and this is exactly how it was done there. (though not for security reasons, but because

    • by sribe (304414)

      Why not automatically scan the printed document and email it to the person?

      Because, you fucking idiot, there would be point in doing that unless you could put it on a wooden table first.

      Thank you folks, I'll be here all week ;-)

    • I don't know why they haven't thought of that. A printer that e-mails the printed paper. But the whole point of this is to be secure so after the paper is scanned, it needs to be shredded. As long as the e-mail is secure. But the fundamental problem is when you are printing something, you usually have it as a file and you want a physical copy.

  • When I was in the fifth grade (1982), I visited the Caterpillar International headquarters' IT center in East Peoria. For some damfool reason, they had a robotic mail carrier that followed a trail of chemicals laid down into the carpeting to wander around the floor, carrying mail and such.

    This was before email, I guess, but no, I don't know why they had it either. It was boss, though.

  • People still print???? C'mon people, get over it!

    • Most work environments still don't have e-devices available sufficiently to replace paper in all circumstances.
      • Most work environments still don't have e-devices available sufficiently to replace paper in all circumstances.

        Mine does... "Printing" is considered a security hazard. We have more secured paper disposal bins than we have printers.

        • Mine does... "Printing" is considered a security hazard. We have more secured paper disposal bins than we have printers.

          Umm ok. So if you're doing so little printing, why do you need paper disposal bins?

    • It's Japan. I've read there's alot more things it's still important to do by mail for cultural reasons. It's not just business inertia.
    • They do... mainly D&D rulebooks, but the boss see ink and paper getting used so... you know...

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      in other news the OP has never lived in the real world nor had a real job

  • by greywire (78262) on Friday August 29, 2014 @03:35PM (#47786595) Homepage

    Give me something I can really use.

    Like a mini fridge robot that brings me mountain dew so I dont have to walk 20 feet to the company break room.

    Seriously people. Those engineers just aren't thinking outside the box.

  • by no-body (127863) on Friday August 29, 2014 @03:36PM (#47786597)

    Even less movement possible in office environment. Soon there will be robots to deliver coffee and spoon-feed office workers...

    • Even less movement possible in office environment. Soon there will be robots to deliver coffee and spoon-feed office workers...

      So, what you're saying here, is that Wall-E was more prophecy than comedy...

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      In my office I intentionally placed the printer out of reach from the desks, to force movement. It's not much movement, but even a few steps go a long way in preventing RSI and related issues.

  • And here I was joking about printers following you around when follow-you printing was installed in my office...
  • From TFS:

    Once the printer receives the job, it moves to the intended recipient who then has to display a smart card to activate printing.

    So, instead of:

    - send my job to the printer

    - walk all of 10 feet to pick it up,

    I now have to:

    - send the print job

    - wait for the printer to finish with the last person

    - wait for the printer to get to my desk from $deity-knows-where in the building (and it's a big fucking building)

    - wave some card at the printer

    - wait for the printer to finish and go away.

    Talk about "technology for technology's sake." I've seen drunk frat boys invent more useful shit than this.

    • We have to scan our smart card to print at my office. At first, I didn't like it, but it turned out to be handy because you can send several jobs to the printer at different times and they all print out together whenever you are ready. No more jobs laying around the room, no more people accidentally taking part of my printout. etc. Downside is the wait time at the printer.
      • We have to scan our smart card to print at my office.

        Now, imagine having to scan it for each individual print, after waiting for the printer to finish with the previous user and make it's way to you. Rinse/repeat for every person on your floor.

  • This plus facetime (and the lunchcart robot) now completely eliminates the need to get any exercise whatsoever during the work day (except finger jumpingjacks and stretches on the keyboard, of course).

    Was this invented by a cabal of cardiologists?

  • What I'd do with this thing is queue up several hundred copies of Goatse and have it follow me around, spewing Goatse across the entire building. This will accomplish two things:

    1. Everyone will want to know where the hell the printer is, and come looking for it (and thus find Goatse).

    2. I will finally get to hear someone say "Why is that man spewing Goatse everywhere?"

  • Isn't that what interns are for? They are certainly, much lower cost than a robot printer.

  • Two important rules when using photocopiers as robots.

    Metalbeard: "Never place your read end on a pirate's face" [youtube.com]
    Always use the proper paper. [youtube.com]

  • I'm sure there are places with a valid need for this, but...

    If you need to print confidential documents all the time, then you have a legitimate business case for your own printer (it's not like they're expensive).

    If you don't have that need, getting up and walking to the printer is probably healthy for you.

    There are already printers that will hold confidential material until you walk up to it and authenticate yourself.

    And if there's a lot of issues around the security of what you're printing, maybe there's

    • by kaiser423 (828989)
      Many large corporations have defaulted to "secure printing" now where the document doesn't get released from the printer until you walk over and punch in your code. It's a royal pain to hit print, walk over, punch in the code, release the job and wait for it to get done. You're not supposed to leave the printer unaccompanied during printing to keep it "secure" and the printer will report on you if you leave the document in the outgoing tray for more than 5 minutes post printing.

      That can be a royal pain
  • How about a robot that prints, delivers your printed pages, then goes out and plants a tree to compensate for them.
    To make sure those pesky humans get enough exercise, the robot can also deliver a watering can and instruct the human to water the tree.

  • I have an HP inkjet and it usually spits sheets of paper clear across the tray and into the air. Mine is on a shelf so that my printouts can rain down onto my desk.
  • Why are we still printing documents?

  • by mark_reh (2015546) on Friday August 29, 2014 @05:54PM (#47787351) Journal

    Another reason not to get off our fat asses!

    Can this robotic thing actually be less costly than simply putting a $50 laser printer at each desk?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Because standing up and walking is too hard?

    • Our finance dept is on a different floor, and I say dept, but it used to be only several people, not all of which were always in the office. When they printed something sensitive, they'd immediately make a mad dash down the stairs to the printer room.

      They have a printer on their floor now and they are happy, so yea, a robot is pretty overkill.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday August 29, 2014 @09:05PM (#47788573)

    Is this really more cost effective than putting printers at each seat?

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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