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Robot Printer Brings Documents To Your Desk

Soulskill posted about 1 month ago | from the surprised-this-is-a-thing-but-also-surprised-it-wasn't-a-thing-already dept.

Printer 64

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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Better Idea (4, Funny)

raftpeople (844215) | about 1 month ago | (#47786503)

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

Re:Better Idea (1, Insightful)

LduN (3754243) | about 1 month ago | (#47786611)

becaue usually when you print a file, you already have file in digital format and thus want it in physical.

Re:Better Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47786663)

Oh yeah, and CERN is in europe.

Ah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47786681)

becaue usually when you print a file, you already have file in digital format and thus want it in physical.

So, for the phsyical medium they should use punched paper tape, transfer that, and then the end user could run that through a punch tape reader and print it off there.

Or better yet, if you are printing stuff that is that sensitive, maybe you should have a private printer?

W O O S H (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47787603)

becaue right back at ya!

Re:Better Idea (3, Insightful)

VorpalRodent (964940) | about 1 month ago | (#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.

Re:Better Idea (1)

jc42 (318812) | about 1 month ago | (#47787721)

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.

Better Idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47787549)

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 we did TONS of printing and it kept people from getting each other's work mixed up.

I mean seriously, is the robot going to be any more secure than just leaving it on the printer? If I want your sensitive documents, your robot butler better have some serious backup to keep me from just taking it from the tray it's carrying it to you on en route. They haven't fixed the problem at all, they've just made the problem mobile and made stealing documents more fun.

Re:Better Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47788511)

you must work for my company's accounting department. they were actually doing this to convert documents to PDF.

Re:Better Idea (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about a month and a half ago | (#47790959)

It works best if to "Scan" they are actually faxing it to a Fax-PDF number, to ensure the lowest of quality possible.

Re:Better Idea (1)

sribe (304414) | about 1 month ago | (#47789179)

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 ;-)

Re:Better Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47789319)

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

Patent lawsuit.

Re: Better Idea (1)

WyldPhyr (3622571) | about a month and a half ago | (#47791999)

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.

Old news.. Caterpillar had these in the early 80's (2)

jonabbey (2498) | about 1 month ago | (#47786519)

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.

Re:Old news.. Caterpillar had these in the early 8 (2)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 1 month ago | (#47786635)

Sears had a robot mail cart on each floor at the Sears tower following a chemical trail too.

Re:Old news.. Caterpillar had these in the early 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47786979)

I don't know why this and the other replied comment aren't upvoted more. This is clearly awesome.

Re:Old news.. Caterpillar had these in the early 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47787345)

HP Lake Stevens had several of those 25+ years ago, that use floor tiles for encoder.
They could even use the elevator and park themselves at charging stations.

I don't know about Caterpillars... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 1 month ago | (#47787619)

But I often see long trails of ants on the floor following a trail of chemicals laid down by the ants themselves!

Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47786521)

Getting up and stretching your legs is an integral part of my work day. Having a printer take away one more reason to do that would be counterproductive in my eyes.

Re:Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47786639)

It's been a constant fight here because a lot of users (mostly managers) insist they need a printer at their desk rather than walking to the department printer that, in all honesty, is close enough that they could slide their chair over without getting over their asses.

Re:Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47786643)

Having a printer take away one more reason to do that would be counterproductive in my eyes

By having the printer bring the printout to my peons' desks, they will spend 3 fewer minutes wandering around the office every day. My office's productivity numbers will soar!

Re:Fail (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 1 month ago | (#47787199)

You aren't being paid to 'stretch your legs'. Get back to work and be productive, slacker.

Oh please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47786523)

" The printer is designed to be used primarily in public places as a way to keep sensitive documents secure"

Cue ridiculous thundering laughter.

Seriously??? (1)

Lab Rat Jason (2495638) | about 1 month ago | (#47786541)

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

Re:Seriously??? (1)

blue9steel (2758287) | about 1 month ago | (#47786631)

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

Re:Seriously??? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 1 month ago | (#47787877)

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.

Re:Seriously??? (1)

blue9steel (2758287) | about 1 month ago | (#47788103)

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?

Re:Seriously??? (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 1 month ago | (#47786707)

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.

Re:Seriously??? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 1 month ago | (#47787863)

They do... mainly D&D rulebooks, but the boss see ink and paper getting used so... you know...

Re:Seriously??? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 1 month ago | (#47788321)

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

Something I can use (2)

greywire (78262) | about 1 month ago | (#47786595)

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.

Re:Something I can use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47786811)

How about a miniature drone that picks cheetos from the bowl by your hand and flies them to your mouth?

great! (2)

no-body (127863) | about 1 month ago | (#47786597)

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

Re:great! (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 1 month ago | (#47786615)

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...

Re:great! (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 1 month ago | (#47789981)

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.

So that's where "follow-you" printing is going. (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 1 month ago | (#47786633)

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

Actually Slower than Walking to the Damn Thing (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 1 month ago | (#47786657)

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.

Re:Actually Slower than Walking to the Damn Thing (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 1 month ago | (#47786679)

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.

Re:Actually Slower than Walking to the Damn Thing (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 1 month ago | (#47786943)

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.

Re:Actually Slower than Walking to the Damn Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47787569)

Seriously. I would just go buy a cheap printer to put on my desk and just laugh at the robot when it wheeled by.

Completing our transformation into formless blobs (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | about 1 month ago | (#47786667)

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?

Fun with Printers (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 1 month ago | (#47786693)

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?"

We could call it... (1)

Badger Nadgers (2423622) | about 1 month ago | (#47786733)

..an intern.

Interns (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 1 month ago | (#47786745)

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

Re:Interns (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 1 month ago | (#47786893)

Japan has a shortage of young people, so there may not be enough interns to go around.

Narrow use case (1)

Livius (318358) | about 1 month ago | (#47786817)

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 a staffing issue you need to look into.

Re:Narrow use case (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | about 1 month ago | (#47787059)

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. The friction that it creates to just getting something on paper is so high that I typically end up not printing documents, which I guess is part of their goal. The flip side is that it lowers productivity because then I don't have a handy printed reference I can carry with me to mark up, answer questions with, etc. I don't know how many times I've been in a meeting and the response to the question was "Well, I don't know. I planned on printing that document to look at, but got too busy to babysit the printer for 10 minutes and didn't want to be late". We typically then spend the next 10 minutes logging into the shared machine and firing up the projector to look at a document. Very productive use of meeting time. This would be so much nicer.

Re:Narrow use case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47787175)

But this is Japan, so obviously the end goal is for the robot printers to join together and transform into the giant robot KAMI-GODDO which will defend the honor of the kaisha against giant monsters like Gojira and Mothra!

drats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47786823)

my last form of exercise finally eliminated by automation.

Who is still printing? (1)

wagr (1070120) | about 1 month ago | (#47786845)

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.

Hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47786889)

Oh, the possibilities...

lazy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47786897)

damn yall some lazy sunsofbitches!!

-db

We Already Have... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47787021)

We already have things like "user boxes", where you send the print job to your "box" on the printer, and have to walk over and start it. That lets you use a "public" printer without leaving your document sit in the output tray unattended. Our main printer in our office does this, and we're a small business with about 60 people.

HP already has this technology (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 1 month ago | (#47787037)

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.

its 2014 (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 1 month ago | (#47787151)

Why are we still printing documents?

Great! (2)

mark_reh (2015546) | about 1 month ago | (#47787351)

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?

Wtf (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47788419)

Because standing up and walking is too hard?

Mad dash down the stairs (1)

Jumunquo (2988827) | about 1 month ago | (#47788547)

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.

Printers are cheap (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 1 month ago | (#47788573)

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

Wallace and Gromit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47789809)

If it could bring me a cup of coffee at the same time...

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47790935)

In Soviet Russia, printer sends job to you!

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