Pod Printing

I may have mentioned before how I hate desktop printers. They’re loud, weird, gawky pieces of plastic that only use one type of specific ink that costs so much you wonder if the Cyan tone is made with gold dust and angel tears. They haven’t improved much since they got rid of the paper that has the holes on the sides, and no, slapping a scanner/copier on top does not count as improving. In a world where iPhones and Google Glass exist, you’d think there’d be more innovation in the Inkjet world.

The ZUtA Pocket Printer may be the innovation I’m looking for. The softball-sized device is small, portable, and compatible with any operating system or device, from iPads to PC’s. In essence, ZUtA Labs stripped away all the components of an inkjet other than the printhead (the part of the printer that moves and puts the ink on the page). The Pocket Printer is placed on the upper corner of the page and moves under its own power, printing 1,000 sheets of grayscale documents on a standard ink cartridge.


ZUtA Labs co-founder Tuvia Elbaum helped created this product when he saw a need. He said to Mashable “The world is mobile and to some extent we got used to having everything available around us. I was banging my head, it makes no sense. We’re in 2014, how come there’s no portable printer?”

The Kickstarter campaign for the device has already passed its goal with 10 days left to go, with contributors receiving a Pocket Printer after pledging $200.

What Sparks Our Fire: Someone is finally trying to solve a problem I’ve had for years, and it’s awesome.

Is this the sort of innovation you think will lead to the future of printing?

Lights, Camera…


This looks like a camera, but just barely. It looks like a smartphone and a very modern camera had a baby, and in truth that’s a pretty good description of what it does. Designed by the same company that built a specialized camera that captures the entire light field (basically allowing you to focus pictures after you take them), the Lytro Illum is the consumer version of that. The broad spectrum of light capture allows you to explore perspectives, focal points, dimensions… basically turning each photo you take into a thousand possible unique variations. The Illum sports a 4″ touchscreen display which allows editing and viewing, and also allows you 8x zoom within the picture and focus by tapping.


And this is just the camera on its own. There are computer desktop tools that will allow a user even more editing power. This camera is a photographers dream.

What Sparks Our Fire: The entire spectrum of light captured in one picture sounds like science fiction, but it’s available this July.

Would you buy this $1,500 camera for the photographer who has everything?

Old Masters, New Tricks


The lost work of Andy Warhol has come back to light. Created only with mouse and screen and never set to paper, creations by the infamous artist have once again seen the light of day, thanks to reverse-engineered software and some custom hardware.


These Warhol originals were crafted on a Commodore Amiga 1000 computer in 1985, and demonstrate the earliest attempts at creating art on computers. Never before had such a feat been attempted, much less by an artist who had spend years refining a brush and canvas approach. “Warhol saw no limits to his art practice,” said Eric Shiner, the director of the Andy Warhol Museum. “These computer-generated images underscore his spirit of experimentation and his willingness to embrace new media — qualities which, in many ways, defined his practice from the early 1960s onwards.”


These works were found on Amiga floppy disks, added to the Andy Warhol collection in 1994, but its only recently that curators realized the disks may hold more than just dusty old Gallaga games.

We’ve also found a digital database, Artsy.net, that provides easy access to a variety of Warhol’s work, exhibitions, and exclusive articles.

What Sparks Our Fire: Finding forgotten works by talented artists on old computers may be the way generations of the future discover great works of art left untouched for years.

What do you think of these newfound works?

Fire SuperVision


I imagine this helmet being placed in on the head via some mechanical contraption that slowly lowers it over you while ominous music plays in the background.

It is not, however, the real-world version of the Darth Vader helmet. This is a proposal for new firefighter helmet that would help first-responders see through the smoke and debris of a burning building. Known as the C-Thru Smoke Diving Helmet, the helmet combines with a visor and respirator that gives the combines the functions of a variety of tools, such as handheld thermal sensors and communication devices, allowing the user to navigate through the fire with his hands free. The helmet transmits data from sensors and video to a collective bank of data that can be sent to all team members and shown in their Heads Up Display or HUD, similar to Air Force helmet.


In addition, the helmet cancels background noise and is just as effective and easy to put on as a normal helmet, and seems to be relatively simpler. It’s a pretty intuitive concept when you think about it, made all the better by envisioning grown men quoting Star Wars at each other .

What Sparks Our Fire: Sometimes, de-sparking literal fires sparks our metaphorical fire.

Could you build a better fire helmet?

Power Pack


All laptop chargers are terrible. Compared to phone chargers, carrying around a laptop charger is like carrying around a whole other device…that has tentacles. It gets in the way, it may weigh over a pound, and like inkjet printers, they haven’t evolved since 2005.

Dart is a Kickstarter campaign trying to change all of that. Proposed by FINsix, the Dart is a device using very high frequency (VHF) power conversion, MIT technology that allows the hardware to charge your laptop the same way your old charger did, just in a smaller, more aesthetically pleasing case. There’s a whole lot of electrical jargon about how the device does what it does and why it works, but the bottom line is if your laptop is on this Compatibility List, you can be charging easily in 22 days. The campaign is already $150,000 ahead of its goal, so why not?

What Sparks Our Fire: Seeing a need for improvement and acting on that need. Now, please fix these terrible printers.

Do you dislike your current charger enough to upgrade to the Dart?