The flatbed scanner is on it’s way out, and is quickly being replaced by smartphone scanning solutions.
Smartphone scanning has a few problems that can be corrected with a simple solution.
Scanner Bin is the most affordable solution of it’s kind and serves as a convenient way to organize your documents that need to be scanned.
The below information is included in our Patent Filing and may be an interesting read:
The majority of consumers in developed countries own at least one hand-held digital camera that is capable of scanning documents, and other objects, and creating digital images. They are in the form of digital still cameras (DSC’s), smartphones, or tablets. These devices utilize an image sensor that is either a semiconductor charge-coupled device (CCD) or a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS). According to research group International Data Corporation (IDC), over one billion smartphones and over two hundred million tablets were sold worldwide in 2013. The majority of these devices contain at least one camera utilizing a CMOS image sensor. Further, the Camera & Imaging Product Association (CIPA) reported that over two hundred and seventy five million DSC’s were sold between 2011 and 2013. Therefore, for the purpose of this background explanation, the term “hand-held digital cameras” includes smartphones, tablets, DSC’s and other consumer devices that contain a digital camera that can be used for image scanning.
As the quality of the image sensors used in hand-held digital cameras has improved over time, consumers have begun to use their cameras as image scanners instead of purchasing, storing and maintaining separate dedicated scanners. A multitude of smartphone and tablet software applications have been created to utilize those devices as image scanners. Examples of such applications include “CamScanner” from IntSig Information Co., Ltd and “Genius Scan” from The Grizzly Labs, SARL.
The term “dedicated scanners” includes flatbed scanners, photo scanners, and sheet-fed scanners. Also included, are scanners that are integrated with printers and other functions used at home or in office settings. The small office/home office devices, referred to as SOHO, are typically smaller form factor desktop devices. The regular office devices are large form factor, stand-alone that do not fit on a desktop, and are referred to by terms such as multifunctional peripheral (MFP), all-in-one (AIO), or multifunctional device (MFD).
Advantages of using hand-held digital cameras in place of dedicated scanners
Important documents, receipts and other objects can be image scanned with hand-held digital cameras that most consumers already own for other purposes, and the consumer or business can thereby avoid the expense of a dedicated scanner. Further, hand-held digital cameras have advantages over dedicated scanners as they can be used to easily create digital images of three dimensional objects, large objects that would not physically fit into a dedicated scanner, or objects that cannot be physically moved to the location of the dedicated scanner, such as a whiteboard, street sign or billboard. Moreover, hand-held digital cameras do not need to physically contact the scanned object as a dedicated scanner does. Objects or documents that are sticky, fragile, dirty, wet, or otherwise not conducive to imaging with a dedicated scanner can be scanned with hand-held digital cameras. Additionally, the use of a hand-held digital camera instead of a dedicated scanner typically saves time for the user because of the relative time it takes to operate those devices and the convenience that results from the portability of the hand-held digital camera. Finally, a dedicated scanner takes up considerable room on the desktop or in an office. Electronic form factors are typically minimized to reduce costs but also to minimize the space required for those devices in homes and offices. For all of these reasons, the use of hand-held digital cameras for image scanning is replacing the need for dedicated scanners.
Issues with using hand-held digital cameras in place of dedicated scanners
When using a hand-held digital camera instead of dedicated scanner, there are problems to overcome in order to create a high quality digital image. The issues include the proper illumination of the scanned object, proper alignment of the camera field of view to the object, and in some cases holding a paper object flat. These issues result in a distorted digital image. Even a slight distortion can render a digital image of a paper object useless, as the written information can be lost. The issues with illumination are the non-uniformity of ambient light, the shadows caused by objects such as the camera itself or the user’s hand that are casts by the obstruction of ambient light, and potentially the reflection of light from the camera’s flash or of another light source off of the scanned object. The issues with alignment of a hand-held camera to the object are related to the distance from the camera to the scanned object, the angle of the camera related to the scanned object, the rotation of the camera related to the scanned object, the potential to capture the full object in the scanned image, and the potential for the user’s hand to shake while holding the camera. The issue with holding a paper object flat is most common for users who intend to scan receipts that have been carried in a wallet or pocket or a letter that was folded to fit into an envelope. A digital image of folded paper is distorted and often not sufficient.
Another factor related to the use of a scanner to capture digital images of important objects, such as paper receipts and letters, relates to personal organization. Receipts and letters are typically received by a consumer every day. The majority of these papers are discarded, lost, piled up or filed into a traditional filing cabinet. A preferred solution is to have a digital copy of all such papers stored in a personal computing system. Scanning such papers with a hand-held digital camera is a quick way to accomplish that solution. Further, batch processing is a common method to improve productivity, and would apply to the scanning of such receipts and letters received over time. However, storing all of these papers for the purpose of scanning many of them in a single working session requires extra space to be used in a home or office.