One of the great advantages to computer technology is the ability to digitize everything. Important documents, photographs and other inventories that were once only available in a hard copy format are now able to be transformed into electronic versions with a few pushes of a button. This helps maintain the dignity of the information that is contained in the documents that could be lost over time in hard copy files. The one piece of equipment that has made digitization possible is the scanner. By implementing photographic technology that is similar to what is used in copy machines, scanners can make a digital copy of any hard copy item that can be saved to a computer system.
When scanners first hit the market, they were very bulky and expensive. Big businesses were the only entities that could afford to buy the equipment and usually only had one per office. Media companies made special use of the technology and were able to more quickly publish photographs that represented current events. Scanners had a big impact but did not affect the average consumer much. Unless you worked in a business and had access to the equipment, you could not take advantage of the benefits of scanning technology.
Scanners have evolved since they first arrived on the market a few decades ago. Desktop versions became available to consumers and produced the first wave of at-home scanning. People could now digitize personal items, like old family photographs, and use the technology for practical purposes. Desktop scanning machines were still relatively expensive though and took up a lot of space. Portable scanners have since emerged and have again transformed the face of digitization. Most portable versions weigh less than five pounds, can be transported in a laptop bag and do not even require a wall outlet for power. The quality of the scanning in portable equipment is comparable to desktop versions and resolution is high.
Now it is a common sight to see a desktop or portable scanner in every computer owner’s home. Many regular printers can now perform all scanning functions along with serving as a fax machine too. The convenience of being able to digitize everything important in our lives makes scanning technology vital to society as a whole. Being able to better preserve documents and photographs will make a difference for generations to come and also aids in organization and understanding for consumers who use the technology today.