If your hard drive could collect dust, most of your computer’s photos would be covered in it. Indeed, the fact that there’s a camera on everything nowadays has caused us to snap a ton of photos and to neglect almost all of them.
A new Kickstarter project called LifePrint wants to help you start preserving memories again with the help of a wireless printer. Launched Monday, the compact, 1.5-pound gadget is meant to be stationed at home and connected to your WiFi, where at any time it can receive a signal to print a photo via the LifePrint app from—get this—anyone in your social network.
So let’s say your mom is out and about, taking photos at one of her crazy dance parties. She can commemorate the moment using the LifePrint app. It has your basic editing capabilities and works anywhere as long as you have 3G service. Just designate which photos you want printed, and send them to the LifePrint.
The printer’s rechargeable lithium ion battery can shoulder about 30 prints in one charge, and its thermal print engine requires no ink.
Instant photography services have made a comeback in recent years, and many of them focus on allowing you to easily print images from your mobile devices and social media feeds. (Just look at Polaroid’s line of Instagram-inspired cameras or the recent Kickstarter project that will send you prints from your social media streams for free.) LifePrint, however, is unique in that it allows you to create your own network based on other people you know who own the gadget.
That means that, just like you might follow a friend on Twitter, you’d also be able to follow her via the LifePrint app. Once you’re connected, you can send photos to each other’s printers whenever you feel like it. So you must trust that your family members and friends won’t waste your photo paper (which costs $20 for a 30-print packet of 3 × 4 inch film). Fortunately, you can always set up an approval process if your buddy keeps sending you photo after photo of him eating a cronut.
No matter how cool the social printer sounds, making memories special again costs a pretty penny. If LifePrint reaches its $200,000 goal, it’ll start shipping next January for $199. I can see how it’d be worth it to plop one of these printers down at your grandparents’ house, so you can share your life with them, if they’re not tech-savvy. Still, $199 is a high price compared to what you might pay to just get the photos printed at your local drugstore and then mail them off.
Perhaps this is the real reason we aren’t taking the time to preserve our memories in tangible form: A medium that’s immediate, convenient, and inexpensive doesn’t quite exist IRL yet. LifePrint, at the very least, gets us closer.
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