Camera phones move toward portable document scanners

November 17, 2004, Grenoble, France--Scientists at the Xerox research center in Europe have developed document imaging technology that could turn mobile phones into portable document scanners and ultimately, into devices that allow people to acquire, store, read, print and share documents at will.

The innovative software enables camera phones for the first time to cope with poor lighting, distorted images and other problems encountered when processing images taken by a digital camera in a hostile environment, according to Christopher Dance, senior scientist and image processing manager for Xerox Research Centre Europe (XRCE). The software has been built upon innovations in improving document imaging with cameras.

"We saw the potential of mobile telephones as a vehicle for advanced imaging technology from the outset," Dance explained. "However, we had to wait for mobile phone technology to catch up so that the cameras integrated on them were of a high enough resolution. It wasn't until this year, with the advent of mega-pixel mobile camera phones, that we saw a potential route to market for our technology."

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

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