Many 3D printers nowadays come with a remote monitoring feature, so you can check on your print jobs from wherever you are via smartphone or tablet. It’s an excellent, stress-saving feature; no one wants to hover around their printer for the duration of a six-hour print job, and leaving it alone to do its thing unmonitored can sometimes result in coming home to a fully printed failure, hours of wasted time, and a mess of wasted material.
If you currently own a printer without a remote monitoring feature, no worries – you don’t have to buy a new one now, because there’s an app for that. Australian product design company Guzu relies heavily on 3D printers for prototyping, and employees frequently begin lengthy print jobs before leaving the office. Frustrated by malfunctions and print failures, a group of employees at the company decided they needed a way to not only keep an eye on their prints remotely, but to rescue those prints before more time, material and power were wasted. They needed a 3D printer hero – or, as it turns out, a Heero, now on Kickstarter.
Heero is a tiny superhero (complete with cape!) with a camera for a head and LED lights to illuminate the area the camera is trained on. Simply place him next to your 3D printer, and his wide angle lens will transmit whatever he “sees” directly to an app on your smartphone or tablet. He also has sound capabilities, so you can listen for sounds that indicate malfunction. If something is going wrong, you can cut your printer’s power from wherever you are. He can also be used for any other electronic device – laser cutters, computers, fans, even lights, so if you’re out of town and want to give the impression that someone is home, you can plug a lamp or two into Heero’s base station and switch them on and off remotely from time to time.
Heero’s uses also go beyond electronics – with his wide-angle lens, he makes a great security camera or baby monitor. Or pet monitor. You can also talk to your kids or pets, as the sound capabilities are two-way – so you can seriously freak out your kids (or pets) when they’re jumping on the bed (or counter) and suddenly your voice comes shrieking at them from some hidden corner of the room.
Guzu is trying to raise $97,000 AUD ($73,445 USD) on Kickstarter by August 25, and they’ve already gotten a pretty good start in their first week. Pledge rewards start at (in AUD) $13 for the body and base, which can also be used to mount an action camera. For a super early bird price of $49, you’ll receive a Heero camera at half the price of expected retail. For regular early birds, you’ll get the same for $59, and non-early bird for $69. $149 will get you a 3-pack, and $549 will get you a 10-pack, and if you really want to populate your home or office with Heeros, you can get a hundred for $4,995. Rewards begin shipping in November to anywhere in the world.
Guzu has also designed several alternate bodies for Heero, which you can download and print for yourself from Thingiverse, so you can have the option of having your home or printer guarded by the Statue of Liberty, Darth Vader, or even little BB-8. I’m really considering supporting this campaign myself, because I could see myself getting a ton of use out of this little guy – even if, I’ll be honest, most of that use consists of being able to scream “GET OFF THE TABLE!” at my cat when I’m away from home. Let’s discuss this great new app over in the Heero Mobile 3D Printer App forum at 3DPB.com.