Xerox turns camera phone into scanner

18 Nov, 2004

Xerox recently announced a new imaging technology that can effectively turn megapixel camera phones into portable document scanners and ultimately, into devices that allow people to acquire, store, read, print and share documents at will.

The software (built upon innovations in improving document imaging with cameras) enables camera phones to cope with poor lighting, distorted images and other problems encountered when processing images taken by a digital camera, according to Christopher Dance, senior scientist and image processing manager for Xerox Research Centre Europe in Grenoble. XRCE specializes in development of innovative technologies that help people access and share documents and knowledge.

Christopher Dance also believes that the new technology could revolutionize the roles of employees working remotely at trade and industry events or other occasions. It would enable them to capture information from handwritten notes, documents, screens, whiteboards or other surfaces, then immediately transmit it.

Xerox's patented mobile document imaging software works through a four-step process: 1) Capture the image photographically, 2) Apply Xerox software to correct for blurring, 3) Convert image to black and white and eliminate any shadows and reflections, 4) Compress the image using a G4 fax compression format, producing images one-tenth the size of JPEG (a standard for mobile image transmission).

The file can be sent by Bluetooth wireless technology, multimedia messaging or facsimile. Once the image reaches a server or desktop PC where optical character recognition can be applied, various types of services can be offered based upon the user needs.

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