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Old 01-28-2011, 11:02 PM   #1
hydin
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Question Anyone use the Magic Wand scanner from VuPoint?

I saw this at my semi local Sam's club last week, and I have been thinking of getting one.

It's a hand held scanner, and it has been getting great reviews (compared to ones like the docupen, etc).

Best part, it's 100$. The Sam's club bundle comes with a hard case and micro SD card as well, so that's always a bonus.

I am going to basically be scanning in paperback books with this, or at least I hope to be scanning them in. Has anyone used one of these for scanning in smaller items like a paperback book?

I mainly want to just digitize my own library of old books that won't get the ebook treatment anytime soon.

Here's the links :
http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/pr...Id=prod1210178 for the bundle at Sam's

and here is the Amazon link :
http://www.amazon.com/VuPoint-Soluti...6273716&sr=8-1

So... anyone?
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Old 02-06-2011, 05:48 PM   #2
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Piece of junk

I have used it for few days and had miserable time with it, beside being cheap nothing to write home about. Main problem was scanning near the spine and it conveniently skips about half an inch of text which is very annoying, unknown errors during scan is another bothersome part, as well as crooked scans. So in nutshell save some aggravation and look for something else.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:09 PM   #3
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I am using a VuPoint Magic Wand scanner that I picked up used off eBay for just over $50 shipped. I LOVE it! It works great!

CAVEAT, if you plan to leave your books intact, it is only going to work on those books that have sufficient margins. (About 5/8" near the spine is good, wouldn't want to try it on much less unless the book was very thin. You might could get away with a half inch, but it will be VERY tight and doing the scanning much more difficult.)

I usually get over 600 scans (300dpi and grayscale) on a set of batteries. (It takes 2AA bats.) The 4GB card is plenty for my purposes.

I am currently using it to scan some older kids paperbacks and it is working very well, because they *have* the needed margin area. The included Abbyy Screenshot Reader does a pretty good job on the OCR, but it is cumbersome and I am going to upgrade and get the Abbyy Finereader Express for my OCR needs instead.

If you have basic, mass-market style paperbacks, it's probably not going to work unless you cut the pages apart. I've got some of those, older sci-fi titles and I'm going to have to decide whether to sacrifice the book or not. Hardbacks will also depend on available margin area near the spine. I have some that will work, others that will not.

If you don't mind taking apart your books, then it should do the scans with no trouble at all, but of course, if you were willing to do that, then a flatbed scanner would be the better option or you could use a copystand with digital camera. I did do a test on a flat page and when you can scan flat, the VuPoint scans are even better. No skew.

Surprisingly, even though sometimes scanning book pages does result in a fairly skewed scan, the Abbyy handles that fairly well. I get more OCR errors if the scan is skewed, but I'm proofreading everything anyway, and it's nowhere near as bad as I expected from a skewed scan.

Anyway, I love mine, but I knew about the margin thing going into the purchase. In my case, most of the books I want to do will work. And some that won't, I'll be willing to take apart. For me, it's very easy to use, takes up little space and I can scan books on our coffee table while watching TV. It's all in what your needs and wants are. I may try taking it to the library and see what I can find for books I can scan there.

I'm not having many errors at all, but every great once in a while, the scanner does produce a scan that is reversed. I just rescan the needed page then. If you have enough margin, you don't really have that much skewing of the scans. I put a piece of black cardstock under each page that I scan. I also use assorted magazines, newspapers and other books next to the book being scanned to support the cardstock so that I can roll the scanner smoothly off the end of the page.

Good luck!
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Old 09-25-2011, 05:46 PM   #4
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I just bought one and cannot get it to work. It doesn't recognize the sd card. I need help with this!
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kivo1945 View Post
I just bought one and cannot get it to work. It doesn't recognize the sd card. I need help with this!
I don't know if I can help, but what is the situation where it won't recognize the card? Does it just not work period? Or is it not recognizing the card when you plug into the computer?

I had the latter happen the first time I used it, and it took a few minutes before I realized that I needed to turn the device ON before I plugged the USB into the computer. After that, it popped up as a drive just as it should.

If the above doesn't help, then I'm not expert enough to troubleshoot and you might need to contact the manufacturer.
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Old 10-14-2011, 03:23 AM   #6
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I haven't plugged it into the computer yet. Isn't it supposed to work with just the sd card?
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by kivo1945 View Post
I haven't plugged it into the computer yet. Isn't it supposed to work with just the sd card?
Yes, it should. Is it not giving you the little SD card icon?

If not, then it's possible your unit is defective or the card is bad. If you can test the card in another device, that might help rule out one or the other.
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:11 AM   #8
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I love mine, and have scanned several thousand(!) pages with it. I knocked up a quick sample page here (with OCR output from Google's open-source "Tesseract" OCR library), with some hints on how to get good, clean scans, including pages where the text is quite near the outer margins (skip down to the "Update!" section):

http://etotheipiplusone.com/vupoint-...r/samples.html

I can generally get around 2-300 pages per hour scanned, and have never resorted to cutting up or otherwise damaging a book (although one book, with text very close to the inner margins, did need to be "stretched" open a bit, which creased the spine).

Incidentally, what are people using for proofreading of scans? I'm currently doing a practice programming project (codenamed "OcrFixer", but will ultimately be called "Qutenberg") aimed at helping with my specific workflow. It will be open-source, cross-platform, use Tesseract OCR (though I may make the OCR engine pluggable), scriptable, have auto-paragraphisation based on indentation [which, in my proof-of-concept tests, works pleasingly well!], have an optional "server" mode for real-time collaborative editing, smart-quoting, html/ ePub export, OCR'd PDF import, listing & highlighting of spelling errors/ other warnings [mis-split words at the end of lines; common OCR errors like 'retumed' instead of 'returned', etc] , "blessing" regions that you are certain are correct so they don't show up in the warning list/ you can quickly see you don't need to read them again, infinite undo, semantic markup (this is a chapter heading; this is a subchapter heading; this is an ordinary paragraph; this is a paragraph that should be styled as a letter/ telegram/ whatever; etc), spinning off e.g. footnotes into a separate "sub-document" and adding back and forth hyperlinks, etc.

If anyone would find such a beast handy, then it might light a fire under my arse and stop me procrastinating If there's already something out there that does all this and more, though, no problem: I'll do it anyway as, as I said, it's a good practice project

A really, really, really early screenshot is here to show what the basic layout will look like; the "Problems/ Warnings" etc window will probably be added as a dock:

http://etotheipiplusone.com/vupoint-...ally_early.png

The paragraphing was auto-generated based on indentation in the source image. Headers, font stylings (bold, italics, etc) will ultimately be displayed in the text area in the bottom half, and styled paragraphs (e.g letters) will be shown with the approximate style (margins, text alignment, etc). "Blessed" text will probably have a grey background instead of white. The yellow wavy lines are one kind of Problem/ Warning: that where Tesseract's uncertainty about the word exceeds a configurable limit.

This is all, of course, several months away
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:42 AM   #9
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I guess it's good enough for OCR-ing. But then again, so is a 3.0 megapixel camera from a mobile phone bought in 2008...


Some feedback on your little project: That proof reading screenshot is very close to the one in ABBYY FineReader 10, except it's reversed. Probably because you spend more time looking at the OCR result instead of the image and only check the image if something doesn't sound right or is underlined (I hope you're working on a dictionary too, btw)... Having it at the top means less strain for the eyes too. In any office situation it's best to have the centre of the screen bellow your horizontal line of sight. ABBYY did their research.

Go to http://www.diybookscanner.org/forum and announce the project there (they have a dedicated "Software" section, this forum seems limited to Calibre, Sigil, Writer2ePub, etc), here, on your Facebook page, etc. It can help tremendously with motivation. I know this from working out. When you announce something to the world, you're bound to have it done. Maybe you don't wanna be seen as foolish, maybe you wanna be seen (by a potential employer, perhaps) as someone who completes projects, who gets things done and is passionate about something.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:35 PM   #10
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Some feedback on your little project: That proof reading screenshot is very close to the one in ABBYY FineReader 10, except it's reversed. Probably because you spend more time looking at the OCR result instead of the image and only check the image if something doesn't sound right or is underlined (I hope you're working on a dictionary too, btw)... Having it at the top means less strain for the eyes too. In any office situation it's best to have the centre of the screen bellow your horizontal line of sight. ABBYY did their research.
Very interesting: that really hadn't occurred to me at all! Perhaps I'll make this configurable, with the ABBYY way as the default - having the text at the bottom seemed much more comfortable to me ...

Quote:
Go to http://www.diybookscanner.org/forum and announce the project there (they have a dedicated "Software" section, this forum seems limited to Calibre, Sigil, Writer2ePub, etc), here, on your Facebook page, etc. It can help tremendously with motivation. I know this from working out. When you announce something to the world, you're bound to have it done. Maybe you don't wanna be seen as foolish, maybe you wanna be seen (by a potential employer, perhaps) as someone who completes projects, who gets things done and is passionate about something.
That's a great idea - I'll probably restrict myself to here and Facebook for now, though I've already got getting Qutenberg to a reasonable state as a goal before I'm allowed to go job-hunting again, so this also helps with the motivation!

Appreciate the response
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:21 AM   #11
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How do I get the SD card out? Once it's in, you can't get it out!
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Old 10-29-2011, 06:14 PM   #12
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How do I get the SD card out? Once it's in, you can't get it out!
Push in, feel it release, pull out.
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:15 PM   #13
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This product seems to be very promising. So thank you for pointing this out, hydin. It could speed up the scanning process greatly. I have scanned my books with a flatbed and is so time consuming. With I could just swipe it through.

I have one question. How sensitive this is for shaky hands? Does it roll easily over the book pages? For textbooks to be OCRd this is not big issue but scanning comics it will be.
What I am looking for is skew-free output within the acceptable margins.

We used to have hand scanner at school - in the eighties. I hope technology has improved since then.
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Old 11-05-2011, 06:03 PM   #14
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I have one question. How sensitive this is for shaky hands? Does it roll easily over the book pages? For textbooks to be OCRd this is not big issue but scanning comics it will be.
What I am looking for is skew-free output within the acceptable margins.

We used to have hand scanner at school - in the eighties. I hope technology has improved since then.
I don't have shaky hands, so I can't speak to the sensitivity of the scanner. But obviously, the steadier and smoother you can use the scanner, the better.

It is a good idea to keep an eye out for dog-eared pages and straighten those out before scanning, because it will tend to "catch" on any folds, tears, etc... If the book has slightly rougher paper, it may not move as smoothly, though generally I've been able to cope with it.

I would think it would do comics fairly easily, but it's not something I've ever tried. If you want skew-free, you'll need to keep the area you are scanning as flat as possible and move the scanner straight across.

It helps if you use a piece of black card stock behind the page you are scanning. It also helps (at least with books) if you build up a "platform" for the card stock to rest on. I use assorted thin junk catalogues/magazines in layers as needed, so you can build up or make the platform thinner, depending on whether you are doing odd or even pages.

What you want is a really smooth roll off the end of the text, no "bump" going down from the pages to the table, etc...

Comics are usually pretty thin, so you probably won't have too much problem with this, but having that adjustable platform definitely helps with books. At any rate, I've been able to get decent scans of illustrations in books.

Oh and to answer MrTeatime's earlier question, I use Abbyy Finereader Pro for my proofreading.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:27 AM   #15
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Thanks, graycyn. That was very helpful. Perhaps I should try it.
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