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Updated: 12/29/2017 by Computer Hope

A scanner may refer to any of the following:

Flatbed scanner1. When referring to hardware , a scanner or optical scanner is a hardware input device that optically "reads" and image and converts it into a digital signal. For example, a scanner may be used to convert a printed picture, drawing, or document ( hard copy ) into a digital file which can be edited on a computer. The picture shows an example of a flatbed scanner, the Epson V300.

  • How is a scanner connected?
  • Other types of computer scanners.
  • When was the first scanner created?
  • Why is a scanner an input device?
  • Related scanner pages.
  • Computer scanner help and support.

How is a scanner connected?

A scanner can be connected to a computer using many different interfaces although today is most commonly connected to a computer using a USB cable .

  • Firewire
  • Parallel
  • SCSI
  • USB

Other types of computer scanners

There are also other types of scanners that can be used with a computer.

  • Sheetfed scanner – scans paper by feeding it into the scanner
  • Handheld scanner – scans text and images by dragging the device over the page you want to scan
  • Card scanner – designed to scan business cards

Note: A handheld scanner should not be confused with a barcode reader .

When was the first scanner created?

The earliest forms of scanners appeared in the 1860s. However, the scanner as we know it today was created in 1957 by a man named Russell Kirsch at the United States National Bureau of Standards. The first image scanned by this device was a picture of Kirsch’s son. This black and white image measured only 5×5 cm and had a resolution of 176 pixels on each side.

Why is a scanner an input device?

A computer scanner is a digitizer , which is a type of input device . It takes information from the real world (e.g., a document or picture) and converts it into digital information for a computer to store or manipulate. A scanner is only able to send information to the computer and cannot receive information from the computer like a printer (which is an output device ).

Related scanner pages

  • Computer scanner manufacturers.
  • Computer scanner help and support.

2. When referring to software , a scanner may refer to any program that scans computer files for errors or other problems. A good example is an antivirus program , which scans the files on the computer for viruses or other malware .

Accessory , Photocopier , Picture , Scan , Scanner terms

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