Hot off of their HAXLR8R demo day presentation last week, hardware startup Prynt was nice enough to drop by TechCrunch HQ to show off the latest prototypes of their smartphones cases, which contain built-in printers so you can instantly get a copy of that selfie with your best friends.
The small French startup has been working on turning your smartphone into a miniature Polaroid camera since January. They’ve spent much of that time visiting Shenzen to source parts and iterating on a simple design that sends a photo to the case over Bluetooth and then prints it by heating paper filled with ink.
The current version takes about 50 seconds from photo to printed paper and can only hold one piece of paper at a time. But the planned consumer version will hold 10-30 sheets of paper and take fewer than 30 seconds to print thanks to better hardware integration and a direct physical connection between the phone and case.
Prynt CEO Clément Perrot says that the case will only cost $99 when first made available via a Kickstarter early next year and will be able to support flagship phones with ~4.x-inch screens. They’re currently working on a mount that will also account for phablets like the Galaxy Note or iPhone 6 Plus.
One neat feature that could help the Prynt case gain traction is an augmented reality feature built into the company’s camera app. When you take a photo with Prynt’s app, it actually records a video of the moments around when you clicked the button and sends it to the cloud. When you hold up the physical photo to your phone’s camera with the app open, it is overlaid with a Play button that shows that video in place of the picture itself.
It’s like Snapchat but with a physical token that gives you permission to see videos. In order to make it even more secure, the company is looking into tricks like hiding pixels in images that would prevent them from being copied, so a photo of the photo wouldn’t bring up the play button in the app.
It’s really nifty to see in person, and in the longer run Prynt is looking at ways they could let you print a photo of one thing — say, your cat — and show a video of something else when it’s held to the app.