Product update: the little printer.
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If your day involves too much pinging, pinning, liking, sharing, checking in, following, digging and tweeting for your taste (and sanity), yet you can’t bring yourself to move completely off the grid, there’s an answer – a way to still be a part of your digital community, but in a refreshingly analog way.
A few months back Berg Cloud unveiled the prototype for their latest design, The Little Printer, a teeny tiny printer that uses the cloud to keep track of the tweets you follow, what your friends are up to Facebook and the pictures they take on Instagram, and relays that information in one nonaggressive ‘newspaper.’
“There’s a slightly nightmarish vision of a world full of glistening, super high-res Retina displays all over your house, a sort of Total Recall world where everything’s a TV,” Berg’s Jack Schulze told Co.Design. “These objects have to live in your home, connected, but they can’t all be ringing and pinging, winking and flashing all the time. They have to be kind of calm.”
With that in mind, Berg designed The Little Printer to make it possible for you to access the content from your social networks as well as your personal calendars and to-do lists in the comforting form of a newspaper, albeit a very small one. The Little Printer uses thermal paper, which is cheap (about .50 cents a roll) and, unlike a regular printer, doesn’t require toner. Better yet, every member of your household can use the same Little Printer for their own subscriptions, which they manage on an iPhone app, “so when Mom leaves for work at 7:30, the printer can have current news headlines, a “mini newspaper,” waiting for her to read on the train, along with a crossword and perhaps the most popular pictures from Instagram. When Dad takes the kids to school at 8:30, his daily to-do list could be ready at the door.”
But the really winning element of Berg’s design is The Little Printer’s face. They purposefully gave it a human face (that it prints itself), which might seem like nothing more than a cute touch, but it actually changes the way you think about the information and how you manage it on your many other faceless devices. You may be interacting with people all day long via email, Twitter, Facebook and all the rest, but unless you Skype a lot you’re not actually interacting with anyone face-to-face, and even then there’s a screen in the way. If everyone had The Little Printer set up on their kitchen counter or desktop, it might very well help to humanize their web-based existence, and maybe even serve as a reminder that real life happen offline.
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