Last November, BERG’s Little Printer made itself known to the scrutinizing eyes of the technology community. Despite plenty of skepticism and apprehension, almost one year later, the novel thermal printer is readying itself for purchase.
Available for £199 ($259), the Little Printer is set to begin shipping in mid-to-late October, with a second run following up “6-10 weeks later.”
Ellis Hamburger of The Verge has a fantastic rundown of the device’s capabilities, competencies, and potential areas of disruptive intrigue:
He cites a piece of twitching string as one of the main inspirations for Little Printer’s utility. Called “Live Wire,” or simply “dangling string,” it hung from the ceiling at Xerox PARC years ago, serving as a glanceable indicator for how congested the company’s servers were at any given point. The string would twitch frantically when the network was busy, and less so during off-peak hours. PARC chief scientist at the time Mark Weiser called it calm technology. “That’s all it did,” Webb says. “Everyone had this ambient awareness of how busy things were. If the string is twitching and you’re trying to download a file, perhaps you’ll leave the room and try again in a few minutes.” The string represents a distracted boss that can’t respond right now. As you approach his or her desk, a waving hand or furrowed brow indicates that you might want to come back later. “It’s giving us a new sense looking into the virtual world,” Webb says.
Although the price is somewhat steep, I continue to find myself utterly fascinated by the potential of this device. Bridging the gap between the digital and tangible worlds is a topic of intense personal importance, and the Little Printer aims to exist at precisely such a juncture. Should the device, indeed, live up to its premise and potential, I imagine it’ll be rather tough for me to avoid placing one of these devices into my day-to-day routine.