Electrical engineering students, Wenlu Chang, Jessica Perng and Wesley Tsai, developed a low-cost, user-friendly solution to cloud printing as a part of their undergraduate capstone project. Their product – the Plugable Cloud Print Device – allows any printer to become a cloud printer at an affordable price.
Cloud printing is a relatively new convenience, allowing for users to print wirelessly from any device (mobile, tablet, laptop, etc.) in the network cloud. Although the concept has been around for several years, it gained notable traction when Google introduced Google Cloud Print.
Since then, Google Cloud Print has almost become a proprietary eponym for cloud printing. However, Google’s service is limited in its range of capabilities. In order to activate the program, you have to buy a Google Cloud Ready Printer, or your desktop machine associated with your Google account must always be on.
Cheng, Perng and Tsai’s project utilizes the robust Google Cloud Ready software, while developing the hardware for all printers at an affordable price. This relinquishes the need to buy a Google Cloud Ready Printer. Additionally, it allows for a device that is small and portable.
The project was sponsored by Plugable Technologies and led by Professor Payman Arabshahi through the Electrical Engineering Entrepreneurial Capstone Project. This new type of capstone project was launched in Winter 2016, enabling students to gain skills in innovation, systems engineering and project management.
The sponsored capstone project also allows students to develop their project after graduation. For the Plugable Cloud Print Device, this development involves increased concentration on making the product market ready. For Chen, Perng and Tsai, their next steps focus on network security, further cost reduction and additional enhancements on user configuration.