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March 26, 2006

Compact Photo Printers with Scanners


Recently many companies have started making compact, user friendly photo printers which make it easy to print photos from a digital camera, or memory card. However, printing photos is only one part of the transition to digital photograph. Many families still have shoeboxes full of old photos, which if they haven’t taken themselves may have been handed down by grandparents or relatives. So the next need among consumers will be digitizing existing photographs, preferably as quickly and easily as they are used to printing the pictures shot yesterday on a digital camera.


For years Polaroid has made great little desktop photo scanners, like this one which is only about $50. You slide in a picture; it scans it and spits it out. However, products like this, as well as flatbed scanners don’t make it easy to scan lots of photos at once. And document feeder attachments for flatbed scanners are both expensive, and work with limited results.

What would be perfect is if small photo printers, like the Epson PhotoMate had a built-in scanner. The scanning device could be located inside of the printer right by the rollers, and the existing paper tray could be used to feed a stack of old photos. The device could save the image files to a connected computer, of if the user inserted a memory card with available space, the files could be saved directly to the memory card. This would allow a user to drop a stack of photos in the paper tray and the device would just scan one after another until it was done.

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