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Sharp's Tiny LCD Doubles As Scanner 69

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the where's-my-can-opener dept.
morpheus83 writes "It's all of 3.5-inches but this LCD screen from Sharp features an integrated optical scanner that could be used to scan business cards, but also be used as a method for multi-touch input. The prototype was seen at the Ceatec exhibition. Possible uses include the ability to recognize fingers or other objects and as biometric lock on your phone. And since each pixel has a scanner it may as well be a multi-touch screen."
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Sharp's Tiny LCD Doubles As Scanner

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  • Don't bother RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by jpaz (512242) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:31AM (#20974231) Homepage
    The summary is the entire article.
    • by JoshJ (1009085)
      I wasn't going to bother reading it, but upon reading your comment I had to click. You aren't kidding, the summary really is the entire article. WTF, /. editors?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by foobsr (693224)
        You miss the subtlety hidden deep within the blurb: "... And since each pixel has a scanner it may as well be a multi-touch screen."

        CC.
    • by Procasinator (1173621) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:35AM (#20974261)
      It is not! You forgot:

      Sharp's optical scanning LCD screen will be ready for commercial use by the first half of 2008.
      There, now it is the full article.
    • Re:Don't bother RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

      by Atzanteol (99067) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:38AM (#20974277) Homepage
      There's a *bit* more info here (from slashdot, to slashgear, to MacOS rumors, etc.):

      http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/index.cfm?newsid=10894 [pcadvisor.co.uk]
      • by omeomi (675045)
        Is this really all that useful? How many of you scan business cards? I never do. If I need to email somebody who's given me a business card, I type in the email address, and then it's in my address book...probably takes less time than scanning and OCR'ing the thing...on the occasion that I need their phone number too, I type it into my phone and hit 'store'. I can't imagine wanting to scan every business card that I get...
        • by inviolet (797804) <slashdot AT ideasmatter DOT org> on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:49PM (#20974763) Journal

          Is this really all that useful? How many of you scan business cards? I never do.

          This particular implementation of the idea, may not be all that useful. However, it's the first step towards a computer monitor that can 'see'. At that point, we'll be able to have real videoconferencing, rather than what we have now, where eye contact is impossible. You can't make eye contact if you have to look offscreen at a camera.

          Eye contact is a very big deal -- its significance is woven deeply into our brain hardware. When the other party is forever looking away from you (i.e. they are watching their screen instead of their camera), it makes everything they say seem untrustworthy.

          • by Fry-kun (619632)

            This particular implementation of the idea, may not be all that useful. However, it's the first step towards a computer monitor that can 'see'. At that point, we'll be able to have real videoconferencing, rather than what we have now, where eye contact is impossible. You can't make eye contact if you have to look offscreen at a camera.

            Eye contact is a very big deal -- its significance is woven deeply into our brain hardware. When the other party is forever looking away from you (i.e. they are watching their screen instead of their camera), it makes everything they say seem untrustworthy.

            Couldn't agree more! I think this is a major part of the reason why videoconferencing hasn't caught on yet. I've tried it, and this is my reason.

          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            How about a standard monitor with one camera on each side of the screen, at about eye level. Then from the image taken from both cameras, some computer algorithm figures out what it would look like from the middle of the monitor, where the camera would ideally be situated. As a plus, the two cameras allows for 3D images to be generated. I don't even know if you'd need 2 monitors for this. Just use the camera on the top of the monitor as they are now, and calculate the projection to the middle of the scr
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by jack455 (748443)
            You mean it's the first step toward a telescreen [wikipedia.org]
          • Funny, but I've been able to make eye contact when I use i(Sight Chat). Maybe it has something to do with the iSight camera being set at roughly eye height?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Is this really all that useful? How many of you scan business cards? I never do. If I need to email somebody who's given me a business card, I type in the email address, and then it's in my address book...probably takes less time than scanning and OCR'ing the thing...on the occasion that I need their phone number too, I type it into my phone and hit 'store'. I can't imagine wanting to scan every business card that I get...

          The article says the card can be scanned in one second. That's significantly faster than the methods you mentioned. Also, from personal experience, I'd rather that data stayed with the card than filling up my address book with numbers from people I won't remember a week later.

          Killer? Nah. Useful? Well, if they keep their promises, sure.

        • As one who studies plant-insect interactions I would be interested in this thing as a very portable leaf-scanning device. For sampling leaf herbivory and such in the field.
      • You are all missing the immediate usefulness of this. As a camera, it's obviously going to have optical limitations. Eventually better and better things may come out of it along the lines of distant vision, screens that need no webcams, etc.. But now, what this means is that touch screens are no longer easily scratched, mushy surfaces. You can put a tempered glass surface on these and have no need of a screen protector. These screens can go on the outside display screens of clamshell phones -- no worries a
    • by edittard (805475)
      Most people don't bother reading either.
    • Engadget's got a gallery [engadget.com] showing this from the Sharp booth tour at CEATEC back on Oct 2nd.
      They've got a gallery showing what look to be engineering samples.
      FTA:

      Today at CEATEC Sharp showed off its optical scanning LCD -- a 3.5-inch 320 x 480 portable display
      with an optical scanner integrated into each pixel, making the screen capable of scanning business cards
      and other visual information placed on its face.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      The summary is the entire article.
      Damn, you made me read TFA for the first time ever.
  • Oblig (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pap22 (1054324) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:39AM (#20974283)
    In Soviet Russia, LCDs watch YOU!!
    • Re:Oblig (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PingPongBoy (303994) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:47AM (#20974373)
      In Soviet Russia, LCDs watch YOU!!


      Might be anywhere, in the coming times.

      Someone has a cellphone without a camera, but is it really? Business's may be well advised to ban personal electronics, but who can do business without a cell phone and still rub shoulders with people with valuable secrets?
      • "Someone has a cellphone without a camera, but is it really?" Really what? A camera? Phone? Sponge? :D
      • by tomee (792877)
        Well, it's not going to work as a camera, because the light would be far too scattered for it to get any image. It only works if the thing to be scanned is right next to the display.

        Still you could probably secretly scan some documents or something.
      • The business could ban proprietary personal electronics, but allow open hardware platforms which they had vetted. Take for instance the OpenMoko project, this could be a viable option for businesses worried about hardware they don't control. With enough backing FIC should be able to custom build the camera and other features out.
    • Christ..... they've invented the Telescreen [wikipedia.org].

      (They were only 23 years overdue)
    • If Bush is in power long enough, this will make 1984 become 2014.

      *shudders*
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Please place your face on the monitor so we can take your picture.
  • Apple Patents? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by strredwolf (532) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:46AM (#20974361) Homepage Journal
    Didn't Apple already patent something similar, in which the screen was also the camera or scanner? In Apple's case, it uses the dead space between each LCD pixel to be a camera.
  • by Ailure (853833) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:49AM (#20974389) Homepage
    This so reminds me about the old support joke about a user trying to send a document, by holding it up in front of the screen. :)
  • The use of this LCD screen as a fingerprint scanner will most likely suffer from the same problems as all fingerprint locks. They rely on the "something you have" principle as an authorization token. Until, that is, someone removes your finger [news.com.au] from your hand.

    Also, fingerprints are per se not exactly unique. Ask the lawyer who was misidentified as a terrorist [latent-prints.com] for having similar fingerprint features.

    And of course, it is not exactly difficult to copy [whatthehack.org] and fake [www.ccc.de] someone else's fingerprint.

    BTW: the Chaos [www.ccc.de]
    • If you have to hack someone's thumb off then the security has done it's job. At some point, violence will always be enough to steal somebody's access.

      • by Firethorn (177587)
        I don't know about you, but I'd rather somebody get access to my stuff through means short of chopping a finger off, much less my thumb.

        For that matter, I'd rather not be running around with information sensitive/valuable enough to chop body limbs off to get.

        At least handcuff briefcase type guys are generally armed, or at least traveling with armed bodyguards(even if they will concentrate more on recovering the briefcase).
    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Yup. Same thing for optical scanners. I envision a future where you'll be standing in line with groceries and then BOOM! Out of the blue someone steals your eyeball.

      Mythbusters did a bit on copying fingerprints to fool a fingerprint scanner. One "ultra-secure" lock they tested was fooled by a photocopy of a fingerprint that had been blown up, had the prints darkened with a marker pen and then shrunk back down again. They obtained Grant's fingerprint by giving him a stack of CDs to copy. Not exactly rocket

      • by westlake (615356)
        One "ultra-secure" lock they tested was fooled by a photocopy of a fingerprint that had been blown up, had the prints darkened with a marker pen and then shrunk back down again. They obtained Grant's fingerprint by giving him a stack of CDs to copy. Not exactly rocket science.

        How many times did this trick fail in rehearsal? To me it sounds clumsy and time-consuming and it works only if you have contact with the subject and can collect a print under perfect conditions.

  • by 9gezegen (824655) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @12:22PM (#20974617)
    From the article And since each pixel has a scanner it may as well be a multi-touch screen. Am I the only one who remembers TV screens that provide the surveillance video back to the big brother?
  • This touch/scan/display is exactly the kind of tech needed to make transparent back/touch devices [slashdot.org] practical. The back side doesn't really need the display part, so the entire device can be cheaper.
  • If you were to put these touchscreens as the primary UI on vending machines, ticket machines, ATMs and the like, you could harvest hundreds of thousands of fingerprints without anybody realizing it. I bet that we'll see more and more companies trying to con people into "use your fingerprint to make calls, pay for your shopping, access your ATM" type of deals. I also bet that these screens will wind up in cellphones as a "standard" feature. You'll be told that you can switch scanning off and use it only as
    • by Andrewkov (140579)
      Interesting point. There are some problems with fingerprints that I see: 1) You can't change your fingerprint if it gets compromised (like you can change a password). 2) It will be used for everything from passwords to applying for loans, applying for a job, etc, just like the social security number with all it's problems. 3) If someone needs your fingerprint bad enough, they can just cut off your finger (ie: to rob you at an ATM or something).
    • by ExtraT (704420)
      Relax, it's not happening: fingerprint recognition is a very subjective science and is not very accurate when done in software. Not too mention that it's also fundamentally flawed. The only reason it got adopted in criminology is because there wasn't anything better at the time. It may very well change soon.
  • It's funny, they create this advanced technology to scan "business cards" when people should just figure out how to transfer their entire contact information by IR or bluetooth. Another solution looking for a problem. If people can't figure out how to do something as simple as an IR transfer from their cellphone, then how the heck are they going to figure out how to scan a business card, run OCR, make edits/fixes, and import that into outlook?
    • Assuming these things have a high enough resolution, QR-code [wikipedia.org] already solves the problem of embedding contact information on business cards in a machine readable fashion, without the need for OCR. A lot of cellphones these days support it, and it seems to me that being able to scan cards using one's monitor would be a nice extension of this sort of technology.

      Your point is still valid though. People need to have a certain level of proficiency with technology in order to be able to utilise even QR-code, a

      • My phone supports it, but it's a pain to use as you have to line up and focus your phone 'just right' - maybe I need more practise?
  • Monitors for women! No need to go anywhere to check up on your hair, just switch on "mirror" mode. Of course, I don't think the cameras will be that good, but I am excited about being able to hold paper up to the screen and then throwing it in the recycle bin.
  • made me remember a post from here over a month ago. It was even stranger when I discovered this post is a dupe of that one.

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/03/1721208 [slashdot.org]
  • I made an April's Fool press release [webhackande.se] back in '96 about the ability to scan Post-It notes by holding them up to the screen. Finally, science catches up with my bold vision!

    BTW, that's prior art and I hereby grant everyone unlimited non-exclusive licences to my ground-breaking invention. Have fun.

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