Flatbed photo scanners provide the ability for many things to be scanned and placed on a computer. Many other types of scanners will only use thin materials such as paper and photographs. Flatbed scanners, on the other hand, allow three dimensional items like books and magazines, to be scanned as well. These devices require a few different things in order to work properly.
First of all, these scanners have a piece of glass located just below the lid. The item that you want to scan should be placed face down on the glass. There is a light source that allows the item to be scanned into a document through a reflection, so the quality of the glass will help determine the quality of the scanned image. Most flatbed photo scanners use glass that is good enough for a quality scan.
As mentioned, flatbed scanners have a built-in light source located just beneath the sheet of glass. Some scanners use LED lights for this illumination. Others require fluorescent bulbs. Consistency of the light source as the scanner is working is supported with a ballast or other device.
The sensor of the scanner determines the reflection of the light against the document that you are trying to scan. There are a couple different types of sensors that these scanners can use. Some use a CMOS or CIS sensor. The majority of flatbed scanners use CCD, or a charge coupled device. No matter what type of sensor is used, they all work in a similar way to convert light waves from the scanner into digital signals. Some arrays of the sensor have three rows that each measure a different color of light, such as red, blue, or green. Older scanners may use filters in front of the light or over the array to filter the different colors.
The carrier has the sensor and light source attached to it.
This part moves across the length of the glass when an item is being scanned. It moves at a steady pace and is powered by an electric motor that uses either a belt or rack and pinion setup in order to operate correctly. When the scan button is pressed, the carrier moves across and takes a number of “slices” of the document. When the scan is finished, these pieces are then assembled together when presented to you on the computer.
As you can see, flatbed photo scanners require several parts as well as technology to work correctly. Many people choose these over other scanners because you can use them for 3D items as well. Be sure to clean the glass often to provide a clean surface to scanning. Any time you need to scan a single piece of paper or one that comes from a thick book, a flatbed scanner will assist you with this task.
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