VuPoint Digital Hand Scanner

This will scan my hand? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just photocopy my hand?

Two questions:

Does this have Linux support?

Has anyone actually used one? How well does it do?

Edit:

And two answers:

Yes, it supports Linux, in that the scans are saved as JPG images and it shows up as a normal flash drive when plugged into the computer. This also means full XP, Vista, Win7, and Mac support too.

It looks like it does pretty well. Here’s a lengthy review with lots of example scans (eat your heart out, NightGhost):

http://the-gadgeteer.com/2010/07/19/vupoint-magic-wand-scanner-review/

Edit #2:

It looks like a microSD card is required and not included.

I don’t get it. Why not just take a picture with your phone/digicam?

On Amazon this is 94.40 for a new one.

Product Website

That’s three questions.

A4 sensor. Too small for letter/legal-size paper?

froogled

i cant help but assume you’ll get stretched/warbled scans from this.

Does it scan anything other than hands?

Maybe I can one of these for all those hoodlums breaking the copier glass trying to scan their rosey red butt cheeks.

I tried one of these–a friend has one.

Not too bad for scanning documents (words). Total and complete crap for scanning pictures or figures, since everything appears distorted.

This is the golden review, IMHO, that hits the nail on the head:

Amazon_review_describing_VuPoint_limitations

Again: If you need to scan text in books you can’t drag to a copying machine, this will do the trick. Other than that…I’m not sure who would need this. And lots of people who think they might need it won’t, after they realize the limitation with graphics.

YouTube videos:

ASElabs

Bed Bath & Beyond

HSN

Because the quality would be carp compared to what you’d get with this wand.

If you want to get a capture of a magazine page with text on it, you wouldn’t probably be able to read the text or at least not easily with a cellphone picture or even digital camera picture…

I already know how many digits I have on my hand.

It all depends on what you want to do. Do you want to scan in a page of text for later OCR? Then this hand scanner is a better choice than most portable cameras, particularly without a tripod.

On the other hand, in that silly video review the guy talks about scanning a wall to remember the pattern of wallpaper or something. For that, a camera (any decent camera) is going to be better.

In the end, ask yourself: Do I need to scan text based documents (for later OCR or whatever) with some frequency? If not, move along.

Hence the second part of my post…

I have one of these to scan legal documents at the court house. It works very well, once you get past the learning curve of not moving your hand to fast. There is a little green/red light on the end that lets you know if the scan is good. (Green-good/red-try again) I paid over a hundred dollars for mine, but it was definitely worth it to me since I didn’t have to make copies of all the files and lug them back to my office.

Why not just use a camera or your phone’s camera? The geek in me is curious too. So here’s some quick math: A4 paper width is a little narrower than 8.5x11, so say this can scan 8.25in wide, as you roll it down the page. This means the max scan width at 600dpi resolution equals a maximum scan line of ~4950 dots. A 16 Mpixel camera produces about a 4920 x 3264 image, which would be a fair comparison to the technical capability of this scanner. However, the typical usage pattern is scanning from top-to-bottom on a letter/A4 page. A page scan is about 1.3:1 image with 4950dip as the width, which gives us about 6400dpi in height. That’s… the equivalent of just over 30 Mpixels.

However, it’s doubtful that the parallel roller mechanism can compensate for hand movement at that resolution; it’s just not possible for a person to roll this down a piece of paper without a 0.0016" or greater error in parallax. So, ya dial it down to 300dpi… which for a scanned page is about 3264 x 2448 (equal to 8 Mpix) to reduce errors. Or 150dpi for general recordkeeping of documents, receipts, magazine pages… (which is more reasonable when you consider storage concerns like the typical size of a laptop hard drive for a business traveller, etc etc.) At 150dpi, an A4/letter page is more than covered at 3 Mpixels.

THE SHORT ANSWER:
If you have a 3-8 Mpixel camera/phone, and you want readable documents that can be printed/copied later, in color, at a resolution better than fax but not quite as good as typical laser printer… then you’re better off just taking a picture with your phone or pocket camera.
If you have an extremely steady hand, and are scanning photos or documents with extreme detail, or preparing for OCR with lousy software that can’t handle anything less than 300dpi, then the capabilities of this scanner might make sense… but you still have to deal with the roller mechanism and the surface of anything you’re scanning.

-J