Scanners have recently become less expensive, but a good one will still set you back $1500 or so. Smaller hand-held scanners may be an affordable alternative, but they have suffered from a number of problems, most notably the difficulty of scanning straight (otherwise the straight lines in an image come out crooked). Users have also had trouble patching together two or more scans when one pass is not enough for an entire image.
Mouse Systems may have solved all these problems with its new PageBrush hand scanner, which is scheduled to ship in September. PageBrush provides on-the-fly image stitching, so multiple passes do not cause headaches for the user. The effect is much like wiping the steam off a bathroom mirror so the reflection gradually comes into view a piece at a time. PageBrush accomplishes this feat by incorporating two mice (PageBrush can actually double as a mouse, though it's unclear how useful it would be in that mode) and sophisticated software that keeps track of what parts of the image have been scanned.
The $795 scanner is driven by a NuBus card and requires at least 2 meg of RAM. It scans at resolutions from 75 dpi to 300 dpi and reads 64 grey levels. Of course the higher the resolution and the more grey scales you try to digitize, the slower the scan, ranging from two to four inches per second. The software saves images in MacPaint, PICT, TIFF, and EPS formats, and provides variable settings for resolution, grey scale, dithering patterns, and image type. Some image editing and painting tools are also included.
Mouse Systems -- 415/656-1117
MacWEEK -- 01-May-90, Vol. 4, #17, pg. 10