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Portable scanners technical dictionary.

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Portable scanner dictionary

Technical Dictionary

This section of ScanShell store is dedicated to help our users to learn and understand the specific terminology used in the card scanning applications market.

To send suggestions for adding new terms to the dictionary, please send an email to ScanShell Store Dictionary.

AAMVA- American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators

This association presented a Driver License's Format, using laser engraving as a secured and controlled printing technology. This format was acknowledged as superior security method.

Bit Depth

For each pixel in an image, the scanner can remember a certain number of bits which is known as bit depth. The higher the bit depth, the better the scanner is at distinguishing between really close shades of the same color. This results in higher image quality. The minimum bit depth for decent image quality is 24. So for each pixel, the scanner remembers 8 bits of information for each of three color levels (red, blue and green). Overall, this means the scanner can theoretically represent around 16.8 million colors.

CIS - Contact Image Sensor

A type of optical flatbed scanner that does not use the traditional CCD arrays that rely on a system of mirrors and lenses to project the scanned image onto the arrays. CIS scanners gather light from red, green and blue LEDs
(which combine to provide white light) and direct the light at the original document being scanned. The light that is reflected from the original is gathered by a lens and directed at an image sensor array that rests just under the document being scanned. The sensor then records the images according to the intensity of light that hits the sensor.

Flatbed Scanner

Flatbed scanners are constructed with a flat glass plate over the photosensitive array and a cover to go over the glass. You can place paper or objects like open books on top of the glass. Light emitted from under the glass reflects off the object being scanned and is picked up by the moving CCD array in the scan head. Flatbeds are a popular and flexible type of scanner that come in both monochrome and color.

dpi - dots per inch

Indicates the resolution of images. The more dots per inch, the higher the resolution. A common resolution for laser printers is 600 dots per inch. This means 600 dots across and 600 dots down, so there are 360,000 dots per square inch.

ID verification

Our system verifies the authenticity of ID cards by comparing the data from two data sources on the ID card.
The data source can be one of the following:
  • Text in the driver license (OCR)
  • 2D barcode
  • Magnetic strip
The card verification is performed by scanning the reference data first, and then scanning the source data. Once the source data is scanned, idScan compares the data, and verifies that the two data sources on the card match. It then indicates verification failure or success, based on the comparison results.

MICR - Magnetic Ink Character Recognition

Used to describe the special numbers and symbols you typically see at the bottom of checks, and the technology and processes to produce and analyze these characters.Its a character recognition system that uses special ink and characters. When a document that contains this ink needs to be read, it passes through a machine, which magnetizes the ink and then translates the magnetic information into characters. MICR technology is used by banks. Numbers and characters found on the bottom of checks (usually containing the check number, sort number, and account number) are printed using Magnetic Ink. MICR provides a secure, high-speed method of scanning and processing information.

MSR - Magnetic Strip Reader

A magnetic stripe reader, also called a magstripe reader, is a hardware device that reads the information encoded in the magnetic stripe located on the back of a plastic badge. The magnetic stripe on the back of a badge is composed of iron-based magnetic particles encased in plastic-like tape. Each magnetic particle in the stripe is a tiny bar magnet about 20-millionths of an inch long. When all the bar magnets are polarized in the same direction, the magnetic stripe is blank. Information is written on the stripe by magnetizing the tiny bars in either a north or south pole direction with a special electromagnetic writer, called an encoder.

OCR - Optical Character Recognition

An advanced image processing and field identification technology that enables to read and process the information on driver licenses and ID cards. The IDScan application has an OCR system that is pre-trained to recognize and interpret a wide variety of font types on ID cards. After the OCR begins reading the text information, the application uses its intelligent processing engine to correctly place the text data into appropriate text fields i.e. ID Number, Name, Address, Issue Date, Expiration Date and Date of Birth. The combination of accurate OCR with advanced image processing yields a perfect system for scanning and filing driver licenses and ID cards.


Around the world, PDF417 is setting new standards for identification. From driver licenses to social services and national ID cards, PDF417 has become the preferred means of encoding ID information. PDF417 answers the need to store and transfer large amounts of data securely and inexpensively. A single PDF417 symbol carries up to 1.1 kilobytes of machine-readable data and it can contain biometrics data files such as photographs, fingerprints, and signatures, as well as text, numbers and graphics.

Portable scanner

Portable scanners are like mini versions of sheet-fed or flatbed scanners that are compact enough to fit in a briefcase. Portable sheet-fed scanners are about the size of a three-hole punch while flatbed models are smaller than a hardcover book. These types of scanners plug into a PC Card or USB port and can scan in color or black and white.

PPM - Pages Per Minutes

A common method of measuring the scanning speed of scanners, as it determines the speed a scanner is capable of scanning.

Sheet fed Scanner

Unlike a flatbed scanner, the photosensitive array in a sheet fed scanner is stationary, and the page being scanned is moved over the array. This is a good type of scanner for someone who intends to scan a lot of documents to produce editable text. If you combine a sheet fed scanner with an automatic document feeder (ADF), you don't need to feed in each sheet by hand.


Most people buying a scanner for personal use won't be too concerned with speed. But you don't want to get stuck with a scanner that barely crawls along. Remember that speed depends on the scanning resolution, the higher the resolution the longer you'll wait. An efficient time for a 600 dpi color scan is about 100 seconds but only 30 seconds for a monochrome 300 dpi scan. Reviews will usually rate a scanner for speed.


TWAIN is an industry standard software interface used to transfer still images into applications from devices, on Windows and Macintosh.

USB - Universal Serial Bus

USB connectors let you attach everything from mice to printers to your computer quickly and easily. It gives a single, standardized, easy-to-use way to connect up to 127 devices to a computer. Our scanners are powered by the computer's USB bus, thus they do not require an external power supply.

1D AND 2D - Barcodes

1D barcodes, are the traditional barcodes appearing on various products, and 2D is the new barcode, which is setting new standards for identification.

idScan - Scan to file
Driver License -ID Scanner
Magnetic Stripe -Read ID Magnetic Stripes
Barcode -Barcode scanner
Checks -Scan Checks
Business Cards -Business card scanner
Passports -Passport scanner
Scanshell -Scan image

Medicscan - Medical cards scanning
Medicscan -Medical card scanner
Medicscan OCR -Insurance card scanner
Medicscan PRO -Scanning insurance cards
Medicscan PRO OCR -Insurance card reader - Scan to database
Driver License -ID Reader
Magnetic Stripe -ID Magnetic Reader
Barcode -ID Barcode Reader
Checks -Checks Scanner
Business Cards -Business Card Reader
Passports -Passport Reader
Scanshell Pro -Image only

SnapShell - New ID scanner
SnapShell R2 -Drivers license scanner
Contacts applications
Scan2Contacts -Scan to Outlook
Scan2CRM -Scan to CRM
Hardware - Scanners
ScanShell 800N -Card Scanner
ScanShell 2000N -Portable scanner
ScanShell 3100DN -Duplex scanner
MagShell 900 -Magnetic card reader
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