Ever looked at the moving photos in Harry Potter and thought “yeah, I’d quite like something like that.” Well, now you can have it! As long as you’re viewing it through your smartphone. It is technology, after all, not magic.
Recently launched on Kickstarter, LifePrint is an app, a printer and a social network all wrapped in one neat and portable package. The printer alone is really quite nice, being designed with portability in mind; measuring only five inches long, three inches wide, and one inch thick it’s definitely small enough to throw in your bag or slip in your pocket to print images on the go.
Where it gets really cool, though, is in what LifePrint are calling the ‘Harry Potter Mode.’ LifePrint works by embedding videos in the photos it prints, and these can then be watched through the companion app by holding the photo up to your iOS or Android device.
The LifePrint isn’t just supported by iOS and Android, it can also pull videos directly from your GoPro action camera, so you can print Apple Live Photos, Vines, GIFs, and regular videos seemingly quite easily. All you have to do is open the LifePrint companion app, select a photo or video from your camera roll or preferred social network, hit print, and wait around a minute for the image to print via a Bluetooth connection to the printer. The printer is also able to print ordinary photos without the augmented reality feature, so to help you differentiate them your augmented reality photos will come with a small watermark in the bottom right corner.
The LifePrint app that allows you to view your moving photos also works as a kind of social network, allowing users to send their augmented reality photos privately to one person or to share it with multiple people across the world where they can print images out themselves to watch.
Another thing that’s interesting about the printer is that it doesn’t require any ink at all. Thanks to a partnership with ZINK Technology for special thermal printing photo paper that pulls the color straight from the film, acting kind of like a Polaroid, the LifePrint will never require an ink refill. Having to carry ink cartridges would definitely have detracted from its claims to be truly portable.
The LifePrinter is seeking funding on Kickstarter just now, but it’s already managed to smash its $30,000, sitting at $173,532 at time of writing with 7 days of the campaign left. If you’d like to get your hands on one of the printers and some film deals exclusive to the Kickstarter campaign, pledging $129 (around £89) will get you the printer, its companion app, a USB charger cable, and a 10 pack of film with an expected delivery date of August 2016. After the Kickstarter campaign, the LifePrint say the ZINK film will be available through themselves, ZINK, and retailers like Amazon with special deals for international customers who order in bulk. You can probably expect to pay around 40 pence per sheet, though, depending on just how much you order.
This does seem like a pretty cool idea at a reasonable cost, although we imagine film costs would mount up if you’re not careful, and even without the feature of augmented reality photos, it’s always handy to have a portable printer at your disposal.
Images via Kickstarter