A picture is worth a thousand words, so the saying goes. But how many words is an image that springs to life with sound and moving video when viewed through a mobile device worth? LifePrint has launched a wireless portable printer and companion app, designed to print and share photos enhanced with augmented reality technology.
It's hard to be spontaneous with photo printing when your printer is tethered to a power outlet. The LifePrint printer is designed with pocket-portability in mind, measuring 5 in long, 3 in wide, and 1 in thick (127 x 76 x 25.5 mm), and weighing a mere 7 oz (200 g). The internal battery charges via USB, and a full charge is said to be good for about 10 to 15 prints. Similar to Polaroid's Zip printer and Snap Camera, LifePrint uses Zink photo paper for no-mess, no-cartridge printing.
However, things get a lot more interesting when you use the LifePrint app (iOS and Android) to create, share, and view these prints. The mobile app uses the company's unique Hyperphoto technology, which offers users the option to embed video clips within photos. When one looks at the physical print by itself, it's just a regular image, but when viewed through the app (requiring the mobile device's rear-facing camera), it becomes an augmented reality photo that plays up to 15 seconds of video with audio.
And the video doesn't have to be related to the photo at all. Users can get creative with choosing a video to embed, whether the moment is adventurous, cherished, silly, or anything else. Small watermarks can be added in the bottom corner of printed photos to identify which are of the augmented reality kind.
Although compatible with iPhone 5s and above and Samsung Galaxy S5 and above, users of the latest iPhone 6S and 6s Plus smartphones can take advantage of Apple's new Live Photos technology. When viewing an Apple Live Photo, a long press on the picture plays a few seconds of video that starts before and ends after the image was captured. The LifePrint app makes it possible to create a photo that more easily shares the Live Photo experience without having to send over a digital file. And if you happen to own a GoPro, the LifePrint app can pull images directly from the camera without an intermediary device.
In addition to creating augmented reality photos, the LifePrint app provides color-correcting algorithms to maintain quality, editing options/filters, quick access to images/video across platforms (e.g. YouTube, Vine, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and a way to share these photos to anyone anywhere. Other LifePrint users can print shared photos when they want (no one is forced to accept anything), and the app allows people to "like" and post comments as done with social media.
LifePrint is currently funding on Kickstarter, having raised 301 percent of its US$30,000 goal in 17 days, with another 42 days left to go. A pledge of $159 sets you up with a LifePrint printer (and app), charge cable, 10 pieces of film, and a rugged case for outdoor use. Those wanting more film can add $20 for an extra 50-pack.
If the engineering refinement, tooling, and production go according to plan, backers can expect shipments of LifePrint printers to start as early as July 2016.
Check out the video below to see LifePrint's Robert Macauley perform a live demonstration with a working prototype.
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