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Above: Yeah, I definitely drew this.
LG‘s mouse scanner might not be the scanner with the highest resolution or the best color stitching, but it is certainly the most fun to use.
LG licenses the technology from Dacuda, which unveiled the product to the US market at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. “Today many people don’t use a scanner because they have no easy access to digitizing the information,” said Dacuda chief executive Alexander Ilic. “The mouse market is really huge, so instead of buying old-fashioned devices, we think it should have a new spin.”
The company’s five new partners bring new use cases to mouse scanning, letting users upload scanned content directly to popular apps like Dropbox or Evernote. A mouse scanner is simply a camera inside a traditional computer mouse, which can scan any flat item simply by swiping in the same way you would move a cursor on the screen.
“We started [Dacuda] in 2008 with the crazy idea of having a device where you can wipe in any direction, any speed, and capture what’s on paper. We were sick of recreating our designs in PowerPoint,” said Ilic.
Ilic and Dacuda’s other three founders were frustrated when they realized how useless their scanner was in translating their sketched thoughts to the Web. The four considered themselves creative types and drew their ideas on paper, but their scanner was no use in digitizing those pictures. Instead, they were left to recreate them in PowerPoint, which Ilic describes as an arduous process.
So they created their first mouse-scanning prototype: a wooden box with a webcam inside. This led to the company’s overall vision: have fairly standard hardware like a cheap webcam inside a regular mouse, but exceptional software to take advantage of the images that come through. The new application partnerships help that software come to its full potential.
The partnership with Dropbox takes care of Dacuda’s original gripe: having to translate written images into PowerPoint. In this case, all you have to do is swipe the mouse scanner over your image, edit or crop as necessary and then upload to Dropbox where someone else can access the image and add to it.
Dropping your scans into Evernote is also helpful for when someone passes you an interesting piece of paper that you want to remember, but it goes beyond that. Given the mouse’s mobility, you can scan t-shirts, DVD covers, logos and more and upload them straight into your account.
The next three partnerships work with a mouse pad that comes packaged with the scanning mouse. This mouse pad allows you to put various pieces of paper underneath the pad’s clear plastic overlay for easy scanning. This helps in particular for folded or curled up notes.
Expensify helps companies to organize their expense reports and makes it easy for employees to file them. The mouse scanner’s Expensify app lets you slip a receipt into the mouse pad, scan it and populate all the important data into an Expensify report.
The addition that I think will make the most waves with my peers is the tie-in with BizCard. With a BizCard account, you can put any business cards you receive into the mouse pad and the scanner software will populate your BizCard contacts list with all of the information found on those cards. Dacuda is working on a feature that will let you line up and scan 10 or more cards at one time to your BizCard account.
Lastly, Lemon allows you to submit all your receipts to the service, which will then analyze your spending to help you financially plan. All you have to do is scan in your receipts using the mouse pad and let Lemon do the rest.
These types of partnerships and this kind of software really shows that while the hardware helps, it’s the connectivity that makes the difference. Currently, the suggested retail price for this mouse is $129. Check back for videos on each of the partners and see how the mouse works in action.