The $349 Hovercam Solo 8: Possibly the World’s Best Document Scanner?

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Let’s go paperless. A document scanner is one in which a document, photograph, map, or even small objects, such as coins, are placed on a flat bed surface and an overhead camera makes a digital image of the item. Genealogists, museums, and libraries often use document scanners for digitizing oversized books, deeds, maps, or most anything else that does not easily fit into a regular-size scanner. A document scanner takes a snapshot of the document placed beneath its lens in a split second, much like a camera, as opposed to the more drawn-out method of traditional scanners – and takes up much less desktop space than a flatbed. Most document scanners also create much higher resolution images than possible with the use of a normal camera.

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Pathway Innovations and Technologies is making a rather bold claim that the new Hovercam Solo 8 is the world’s best document scanner. I haven’t yet had a chance to get my hands on one but the specifications certainly sound impressive: ultra HD 4K resolution, full motion (30 fps) recording, high speed USB 3.0 connectivity and improved Optical Character Recognition (OCR) that allows scanning of documents into editable text. It is also easily portable. The scanner folds for carrying into a 1.5 x 3.5 x 11.4 inches (3.8 x 8.9 x 28.9 cm) package that weighs just 2.2 lbs. (1.0 kg).

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The ultra HD 4K resolution provides higher resolution images than that of any competitive document scanner. It also works as a video camera.

The new scanner uses a USB 3.0 connection to a computer that allows uncompressed 8 megapixel images to be streamed in full motion ultra HD video with no visible lag. There are other document cameras available in the market with image sensors ranging from 10-20 megapixels, but many of these result in only 1 megapixel resolution because of a lack of supporting processors and software. Hovercam Solo 8 can also be used with USB 2.0 connection with slight MJPEG compression. It is powered through the USB connection, no external poser supply is required. That should make it excellent for use in archives and courthouses that may not have a convenient power outlet.

Unlike normal document scanners, the Hovercam Solo 8’s Flex 10 software supports live video and even audio. I had never thought about recording audio with a scanner but Pathway Innovations and Technologies points out the new scanner allows for voice narration and annotation while the video is streaming.

The Flex 10 document scanner is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh. It sells for $349 US. You can find more information on the Pathway Innovations and Technologies web site at http://www.thehovercam.com/products/solo-8.

You can also watch a video demo of the new scanner at http://youtu.be/wq86BPHEpQc or in the video player below:

3 Comments

This may be what some of us have been waiting for. I hope to see an evaluation by a buyer who has no pecuniary interest in the device. If you use one, Dick, I’m sure you will tell us your reaction.

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Wonder how this would compare with just using a high megapixel SLR camera ?

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