Document Scanner

It’s hard to imagine what people did before the advent of document scanners. These handy electronic devices allow anybody with a hard copy of a document to place it on a flat bed or insert it into a document feeder, hit a button, and then viola, they have a digital copy of their document. One can only imagine how much the secretaries and administrative assistants of the past would have loved to have had one of these handy document scanners back in the days before office technology was readily available.

The basic definition of a document scanner is that it is a device that can be used to convert a document, an image, handwriting or even an object into digital format. The most common types of document scanners are known as desktop or flatbed scanners, and their usage is very simple. Someone places something that they want to convert to a digital image – perhaps a fax just received, a schematic drawn up by the engineering department, or even a knick knack that they wish to sell on an online auction site – onto the document scanner’s flat surface, and push the button (usually located on the document scanner itself or accessed through software used to program the document scanner.) This produces a document on the computer to which the scanner is hooked up. From there, the user can manipulate the document, share it with the world, or generally do just about whatever he or she wants with it. Document scanners are very handy devices in the home, office or anywhere else, and the technology is older than you might think.

Document scanners can actually trace their history back to the 1920′s with the early telephotography input devices. Basically, these early versions of document scanners consisted of a rotating drum with a single photodetector at a standard speed of 60 or 120 rpm (later models up to 240 rpm). They sent a linear analog AM signal through the standard telephone voice lines to receptors, which synchronously printed the proportional intensity on special paper. As with much modern technology, document scanners have been around for quite a bit longer than they have been commercial available and affordable to most consumers.

Desktop or flatbed scanners are not the only types of document scanners available, either. Handheld scanners, though less common than desktop or flatbed document scanners, are out there. Handheld scanners, sometimes called wand scanners, are not useful for document scanning though. Instead they are used in industrial applications such as for industrial design, reverse engineering, test and measurement, orthotics, etc. They are also used in gaming and virtual reality.

Document scanners are becoming an ubiquitous part of the modern household and office. They are becoming just as important as the other office staples – computers, printers, faxes and copy machines, and that is why they are often bundled together with peripherals that have those other functionalities in “all in one” packages. For example, popular all in one bundles these days include a printer, a fax machine, a document scanner, and a copying machine all in one single electronic device.

Document scanners have proved their usefulness to in the office and in the business of making money, but they have also proven their use in other ways. For example, historians and genealogists have co-opted scanners for use in their hobby. Genealogists – people who study family history (their own and others) – have been known to use scanners to send pictures of relatives, important places, important and very aged non-electronic documents such as wills and military records, to relatives who have dispersed all over the world. Truly the document scanner is a diverse invention that is being used in many disparate ways.

This Document Scanner Review is Written/Updated on Nov 17th, 2009 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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