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Use of a smartphone or tablet as a document scanner

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000231052D
Publication Date: 2013-Sep-24
Document File: 6 page(s) / 202K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This idea proposes a configuration and working procedure of using a mobile device (smart phone or tablet) with front camera for document/image scanning. Key ideas include using the mobile device display as a light source for illumination and using the front camera as a scanning sensor. The illumination effects can be tuned by turning completely white for highest light intensity or displaying certain spatial and/or spectral images or automatically adjusting under different illumination conditions for optimum output. Also disclosed is a proposed working procedure of using such devices.

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Use of a smartphone or tablet as a document scanner

This idea proposes a configuration and working procedure of using a mobile device (smart phone or tablet) with front camera for document/image scanning. Key ideas include using the mobile device display as a light source for illumination and using the front camera as a scanning sensor. The illumination effects can be tuned by turning completely white for highest light intensity or displaying certain spatial and/or spectral images or automatically adjusting under different illumination conditions for optimum output. Also disclosed is a proposed working procedure of using such devices.

Scanning of documents can be a very important function for mobile knowledge workers.  Mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, are used more and more often as a means of capturing images.  Mobile apps, and many with cloud service support, are available for the different mobile device hardware and Operating System platforms.  However, holding a smart phone or tablet steady and in position to capture an image is often difficult.  Getting the proper and uniform lighting is also an issue.  Different solutions for mounting the mobile device for image capture are available.  All current solutions require a front facing camera and provide supplemental lighting which adds to the cost of the mobile device and the portability of the capture set up.

This idea proposes using the backward facing camera for image capture and using the display screen as a diffused illuminator for the document to be scanned.  Since the display is effectively a spatially and spectrally adjustable light source, the display can be used to provide some level of uniformity compensation and can also be used for color correction of poor quality originals.

Background

Scanning of documents can be a very important function for mobile knowledge workers.  Mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, are used more and more often as a means of capturing images.  However, holding a smart phone or tablet steady and in position to capture an image is often difficult.  Getting the proper and uniform lighting is also an issue.

A search of the internet will show that there are plenty of apps that provide image capture with different levels of capability for post processing and storage.  One can get a pretty decent scan if the images were captured with adequate lighting and the images were taken at the proper angle, which is sometimes a difficult tradeoff to make. 

To solve the problem of document alignment and illumination, different solutions for mounting the mobile devices for image capture are available on the market today.  One can use the Scanbox, which uses laminated card stock to create a foldable box.  See Figure 1 for the Scanbox setup.  LED arrays are mounted inside the box structure for illumination.  The mobile device is placed on top of the box in the green area with the front-facing camera pointing down and the display f...