Handheld printer and scanner concept sticks to tried and true methods of document handling

We live in a world filled with apps, multimedia content, and digital data, but there are and will always be things written on printed on paper. Official documents are still printed, receipts are still physical, and some people still prefer writing on notebooks and notepads. The gap between physical and digital isn’t that easy to bridge for people who want or even need to have the best of both worlds, even though there are, ironically, a handful of products claiming to offer the perfect solution. As some say, there is no perfect answer, but the best one might actually be the simplest and most straightforward. This concept device, for example, offers what looks like a traditional printer and scanner combo, except it’s something that you can easily store and take from your bag whenever and wherever you need it.

Designer: John Branca

There are quite a few product designs these days that try to unify physical and digital documents, from notebooks and pens that can record your handwriting to smartphone apps that can convert printed or even handwritten text into digital ones. The former doesn’t exactly work for digitizing what’s already printed, while the latter puts the burden on the person taking a perfect photo of the paper. These solutions also don’t work in the reverse, like turning digital files into their physical form, especially when you’re out of the office or not at home.

Scribe is a concept design that combines two things that already exist today, a portable printer and a portable scanner. In a nutshell, it shrinks 2-in-1 printer and scanner combos into a compact design that you can even carry in your hand if necessary. It has an industrial-inspired aesthetic that moves away from the predominant minimalist style, making it distinctive and memorable. It also has a large touch display that makes operating the device simple and intuitive without having to fumble on your computer or phone.

The device uses a feed-type mechanism where a piece of paper slides through the box to get printed or scanned. This does have the limitation of accommodating certain paper sizes only, though that will most likely be the most common use case for scanning receipts and printing out notes. That said, you won’t be able to scan any bound material like notebooks and books, so forget about taking this to the library. Due to size constraints, there’s also only room for a single black inkjet cartridge. ZINK technology might be more compact, but that also requires using special, non-standard paper.


Scribe is definitely an interesting break from all the app-based, smartphone-centric solutions out there, though it still raises the question of whether it’s more convenient or not. Then again, you can’t print from your phone either, so if you’re going to bring a portable printer with you, might as well have something that can also scan those documents as well.