As a historian and genealogist I have spent some time in archives, libraries, records offices, and peoples homes. I know my way around a copy machine, but I don’t carry a copy machine in my back pocket…but I do carry a smart phone in my back pocket*. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has missed capturing a document because a copy machine isn’t available or the cost of scanning or copying is out of your budget—and let’s face it, a digital picture of a doc is good but a scanned image is better. Along comes a new little app that will help out in many of those situations. Genius scan, by Grizzly Labs, uses the camera on your phone to create ‘scanned’ documents and images. It’s extremely easy to use and fixes most of the problems encountered when using digital photography in place of a copier or scanner.
It’s so simple, open the app, take a picture of what you want scanned. Use the image correcting tool to square up and crop the subject. Send it to yourself by email, to one of your favorite doc storage places or save to your phone. The upgraded version ($2.99) offers options to send it to a printer, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Docs, Expensify, Box.net.
It is not without its faults, shadows and reflections can be a problem and if you don’t catch the corners of the documents you might need to retake so that the perspective adjustment works. If you’re in a low light setting or if you shoot the image from too much of an angle (in an effort to avoid those nasty shadows and reflections) the image can come out grainy and hard to read. I also don’t know how much battery this will eat. This will not eliminate the need to go to the copy machine or a scanner, but it might save you from carrying around $10 in change or missing that opportunity to capture something you couldn’t capture before. This is one little tool I will be using. It is currently available from itunes and windows phone.
The app developer’s web site:
*currently available for Iphone, Itouch, Ipad 2, and windows phone.