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Digi Cam/Scan

Instead of a using a scanner, set up a digital camera on a tripod.
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The resolution of the latest sub-$1000 digital cameras, (1600x1200) is enough to scan some large print documents. A 300dpi scan on a 8.5" x 11" sheet will be 2550 x 3300 pixels. The cameras are almost there.

So, go get a digital camera, set it up on a short stand or tripod, and adjust the zoom. You could also use a heavy transparent cover to straighten out the paper, if necessary.

A possible improvement is using a software trigger as an alternative to pushing the button. One could also come up with some kind of paper feeder for scanning whole stacks.

Advantages: (1) Snapping is much faster than scanning. (2) Instead of two devices, you only need one. When you're not home, you can carry it out and do your leisurely photographing. You probably wouldn't do both things simultaneously anyway.

Problems: (1) Lighting (2) Adapting the existing scanning software to work with this, so that all the nice features (OCR, one-click scanning/processing, existing scripts, ...) don't have to be redone. Does anybody know how to hack scanner drivers?

If anybody pursues this idea, and manages to adapt the driver, please let me know.

Scanners don't have a future in the home/office setting.

GusLacerda, Mar 28 2001

The curvature problem, if you don't have good zoom. http://people.ne.me...lacerda/camera.html
[GusLacerda, Mar 28 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       To overcome resolution issues, combine multiple pictures from a slightly jittering camera (a principle already used in astronomy.)
jutta, Mar 28 2001

       Meld it with a video camera, a flashlight, a phone, a PDA and a GPS and you're on to something. TIPUET.
centauri, Mar 28 2001

       300dpi? A reasonable modern scanner gets 1200dpi and costs ~ $100. Digital cameras aren't even close.
egnor, Mar 28 2001

       Most people scan at far too high a resolution to begin with. That slows down the process and takes up disk space-both unnecessarry side effects.Instead of working down from 9600 interpolated pixels, consider that since the image you see is 72 dpi, it is best to start from there and work your way up using various formats... Glossy/matte B/W pictures, Colour pictures, Transparencies, Line Art, etc., find the best settings and actual 'sweet spot' in your scanner for each type of image, sharpen image where necessarry. Saves time and disk space.
thumbwax, Apr 02 2001

       Another issue: The system would have to undistort the images, since the middle of the paper would be closer to the camera, it would appear bigger. Enter PhotoShop. See link.
GusLacerda, Apr 18 2001

       This could be very valuable to document management systems. Those systems which scan and OCR documents so they can be searched and stored in digiatal form.   

       To answer the critisisms of this idea: -To keep images on a screen they don't need to be very high resolution. -It's now 2006 and there are heaps of CCD cameras which have enough MP to also operate at a high resolution: ie 6MP is 2450x2450 (which is not a 4:3 ratio, I know) -A reasonable scanner costs $100, true. But that scanner would only scan at 1 ppm at the most -As for distortion problems, it's always possible to whack a macro lens on the camera.   

       Using a CCD camera with the appropriate lens, light, casing, feeder and computer interface would be priceless to the document management industry. I have a freind who has a SLR digital camera which can take 3 pictures a second, which if implemented into a scanner with a good feeder would equate to a 180 ppm scanner!   

       Lens - Macro Lens Light - A fluro which stays on while scanning (may need something with a more natural light spectrum) Casing - Would probably be boxy and big 500mm3 Feeder - ADF, i'm sure there's one out there that's fast enough Computer Interface - USB 2.0 of course. The pictures would need to be cached in the scanner, then I would transfer them directly to a designated folder on the computer, where they can be manipulated (no need to hack a scanner driver)
toadth, Jul 11 2006


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