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Xerox turns mobile phone into image scanner

Arif Mohamed

Xerox has developed camera phone technology that allows users to scan and transmit documents using powerful document imaging software residing on the handset.

Xerox said the technology would suit users such as lawyers and insurance adjusters, or workers wanting to check signatures or capture contracts on the move.

The Mobile Document Imaging software, written in C++, works with the Nokia 7610 camera phone running the Symbian 7 operating system. It has a one-megapixel capability - the minimum required for accurate document capture, said Xerox.

The software acquires the image, sharpens it, converts it to black and white, shrinks the file size, and can then print or fax it or send it via Multimedia Messaging Service, Bluetooth or e-mail, where the recipient can carry out optical character recognition.

Xerox senior scientist Chris Dance said, "The quality is good. Not as good as a conventional photocopier, but it will improve next year with higher resolution five-megapixel cameras."

Xerox demonstrated the system at its research centre in France, along with software that allows any digital camera to capture and transmit documents to a PC, which then executes optical character recognition functions.

Paul Withington, senior analyst at IDC, said, "This will definitely have a place in many business sectors, particularly construction and insurance."

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