(CBS) When Ray Kurzweil decided to help blind people read the printed word, he developed an amazing “Reading Machine” and, as a consequence, the first flatbed scanner. Back in 1975, Kurzweil and his colleagues used this first CCD (or “Charge Coupled Device”) scanner with a modest 500 pixel sensor that moved back and forth across a page. In addition, Kurzweil’s team also developed the first OCR (or “Optical Character Recognition”) software that turned scanned letters into digitally recognizable text coupled with voice synthesis to read the words aloud.
Today, desktop scanners are used for a myriad of purposes beyond the original mission of aiding the visually impaired. Happily, the desktop scanner has become ubiquitous and, in celebration, let me share some modern variants and unusual ways people are using these powerful scanner tools. First, we’ll look at a reasonably priced scanner that does unreasonably great work. Then, a business-card scanner and software solution to help organize your drawer full of contacts. Plus a “pen” that scans and shares your chicken-scratch handwriting with your desktop. And, finally, a taste of the work of a marvelous artist, Katinka Matson, who has been using flatbed scanners to create art that marvelously fuses technology and nature...
Matson’s Scanner Art
"One of the reasons—besides sheer artistry—that Katinka Matson's work resonates so strongly with us is that is that the insect-like vision that results from scanning direct-to-CCD runs so much deeper in us than vision as processed through a lens. By removing the lens, Katinka's work bypasses an entire stack of added layers and takes us back to when we saw more by looking at less." — George Dyson
the cognitive level, new perceptual ways of looking at things can
provide categorization challenges." — William H.
"As the moving lens slides along the surface of one of Matson's tulips, it is able to view the flower from all sides; her floral pictures are so intense that looking at them, you almost get the feeling that you are able to peer around the flowers themselves. Another advantage: the distortion that a single lens inevitably creates disappearsdetails at the corners of these pictures are as sharp and clear as those at the center." [continue...]
main difference with photographic equipment in fact is also in
the lighting of the subjects and in the darkness that shades
their background, a darkness given by the infinite nothingness
that separates the respective parts to the glass more distant
(further) from the cover used in order not to disperse the light.
other hand, the sensitivity of color and details pick up spectacular,
small framed details from the window that the fluttering eye
of the computer (fluttering computer eye) imposes as a bidimensional
limit to a very organic magnificence."
Copyright © 2003 by Katinka Matson