It's 2014 and we still use computers to generate physical paper, so Xerox made a robot to help do that. The prototype robot is like a mobile print room: You upload your document to be printed through a special URL at a fixed computer, and the robot starts on its way over to you. Once there, you give the printer the go-ahead to do its printing thing with the touch of a "smart card" (NFC, if we had to guess), and then it prints while you wait.
The printer robot gets around the office with laser-based LIDAR that it uses to build a 3D map of the space. It requires no markers or beacons, and uses the LIDAR to avoid obstacles like those pesky humans that keep demanding it spit out paper. It's not a 3D printer; it just sees in 3D
Speaking of that paper, inside the autonomous robot is a Xerox full color laser printer. So not only does it come up to your side, it's going to give you gloriously fast and detailed prints.
That said, all of this is a prototype that's only seen use in one lounge in one Xerox office in Japan. But it's a sign of the future — we won't need a printer at every desk, and we won't need a dedicated printer room. Just roving printer bots… so long as they don't achieve sentience and print whatever they want.
Source: Nikkei Technology; Via: Gizmodo