This summer, I speed-dated a few mobile scanners. I didn’t find true love. So I was intrigued when yet another scanner company brought out their products at DemoFall 2010—perhaps I hadn’t seen anything yet.
Rocky Mountain Ventures Company demonstrated two products, the Flip-Pal, a compact $150 personal gizmo appearing in the video above, and the Capture-ID, a larger, $250 product that was demonstrated only in mock-up form, intended for commercial use. Both can scan the typical way, with a document placed face-down on the scanner, or in reverse, with the scanner sitting on the document, and a clear window letting you look down on what is being scanned. It’s this feature that caught my intention—how much easier to position a document when you are looking directly through a window at the scan area, not just guessing. And how nice to be able to scan books or lumpy surfaces that wouldn’t work in sheet-fed or traditional flat-bed scanners.
Alas, however, I didn’t find true scanner love at Demo—the Flip-Pal’s scanning area is optimized for photos; even though the image stitching software is effective, it’s a little convoluted for the typical papers I scan. And the Capture-ID is just too big for my computer bag.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.