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Optical character recognition

Optical character recognition, usually abbreviated to OCR, is the mechanical or electronic conversion of scanned images of handwritten, typewritten or printed text into machine-encoded text. It is widely used as a form of data entry from some sort of original paper data source, whether documents, sales receipts, mail, or any number of printed records. It is a common method of digitizing printed texts so that they can be electronically searched, stored more compactly, displayed on-line, and used in machine processes such as machine translation, text-tospeech and text mining. OCR is a field of research in pattern recognition, artificial intelligence andcomputer vision. Early versions needed to be programmed with images of each character, and worked on one font at a time. "Intelligent" systems with a high degree of recognition accuracy for most fonts are now common. Some systems are capable of reproducing formatted output that closely approximates the original scanned page including images, columns and other nontextual components.

Importance of OCR to the blind

In 1974, Ray Kurzweil started the company Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc. and continued development of omni-font OCR, which could recognize text printed in virtually any font (Kurzweil is often credited with inventing omnifont OCR, but it was in use by companies, including CompuScan, in the late 1960s and 1970s.[1][4]) Kurzweil decided that the best application of this technology would be to create a reading machine for the blind, which would allow blind people to have a computer read text to them out loud. This device required the invention of two enabling technologies the CCD flatbed scanner and the text-to-speech synthesizer. On January 13, 1976, the successful finished product was unveiled during a widely reported news conference headed by Kurzweil and the leaders of theNational Federation of the Blind[citation needed]. In 1978, Kurzweil Computer Products began selling a commercial version of the optical character recognition computer program. LexisNexis was one of the first customers, and bought the program to upload paper legal and news documents onto its nascent online databases. Two years later, Kurzweil sold his company to Xerox, which had an interest in further commercializing paper-to-computer text conversion. Xerox eventually spun it off as Scansoft, which merged with Nuance Communications

OCR reader

Optical mark recognition (also called optical mark reading and OMR) is the process of capturing human-marked data fromdocument forms such as surveys and tests.

Optical mark recognition (OMR) is the scanning of paper to detect the presence or absence of a mark in a predetermined position.[13]Optical mark recognition has evolved from several other technologies. In the early 19th century and 20th century patents were given for machines that would aid the blind.[14] OMR is now used as an input device for data entry. Two early forms of OMR are paper tape and punch cards which use actual holes punched into the medium instead of pencil filled circles on the medium. Paper tape was used as early as 1857 as an input device for telegraph.[15] Punch cards were created in 1890 and were used as input devices for computers. The use of punch cards declined greatly in the early 1970s with the introduction of personal computers.[16] With modern OMR, where the presence of a pencil filled in bubble is recognized, the recognition is done via an optical scanner. The first mark sense scanner was the IBM 805 Test Scoring Machine; this read marks by sensing the electrical conductivity of graphite pencil lead using pairs of wire brushes that scanned the page. In the 1930s, Richard Warren at IBM experimented with optical mark sense systems for test scoring, as documented in US Patents 2,150,256 (filed in 1932, granted in 1939) and 2,010,653 (filed in 1933, granted in 1935). The first successful optical mark-sense scanner was developed by Everett Franklin Lindquist as documented in US Patent 3,050,248 (filed in 1955, granted in 1962).

Applications of OMR
In the process of institutional research Community surveys Consumer surveys Tests and assessments Evaluations and feedback Data compilation Product evaluation Time sheets and inventory counts Membership subscription forms Lotteries and voting Geocoding (e.g. postal codes) Mortgage loan, banking, and insurance applications

OMR Scanner