Converting paper documents to their electronic equivalents normally requires a substantial piece of kit; a flatbed scanner. There are sheet feed scanners, too, but these are mainly the province of large business offices.
The IRIScan Anywhere 2, a battery-powered, sheet feed scanner, is aimed at a third category of customer, someone who needs to scan documents sheet-by-sheet, while away from a PC.
This scanner, while not quite pocket-sized, could certainly be squeezed into a typical laptop bag. It's not much wider than the A4 sheets it’s designed to scan and is about the size of a squared-off, half baguette. It's encased in black plastic with a silvered plastic top and is completely self-contained, with a rechargeable lithium polymer battery with enough power to scan about 100 pages.
Apart from the single slot running through its middle, which automatically senses the presence of a sheet of paper and starts the feed rollers, there are two sockets on its front: one for a USB drive and the other for an SD card. The scanner comes with a 1GB card and in normal use will either scan to this or to 512 MB of internal memory.
On the end of the scanner is a miniature USB socket. This can be used to connect it to a computer, to recharge its battery and to download images. The only other feature on the case is a single, illuminated power button, which is also used to switch the scanner between its default resolution of 300ppi and its maximum 600ppi. A coloured LED bar behind the button shines green or orange to show the resolution setting. Various other status indications are provided by these lights and the combinations take a while to learn.
Using the IRIScan Anywhere 2 is pretty straightforward, as you feed a sheet of paper, a photo print or a business card through from the rear and the scanner automatically stores the image. Getting it from there to your computer is a function of the software supplied by IRIS.
This is a pretty comprehensive trio of Readiris, Cardiris and Roxio PhotoSuite. Readiris is IRIS’s OCR software and Cardiris is a similar program for business cards which preserves a bitmap image of the card, as well as extracting contact details and adding them to its own database. Roxio PhotoSuite is a bitmap editor, ideal for tidying up photos.