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Scanning comes to the mousepad

Scanners are replacing fax machines, but they are no more convenient – unless you can do it with your mouse, writes NATALIE VICTOR.

Fax machines are giving way to e-mailed scans, but scanners are hardly more convenient – especially when located separately from the computer. The IRIScan brings scanning directly to the desktop.

The IRIScan Mouse combines a typical computer mouse with an office or home scanner. It’s a normal-looking mouse that allows users to scan any document on their desks and have it instantaneously appear on their computer screens. It just takes a quick and easy installation of software that manages the process.

The mouse has the usual buttons and scroller, plus an additional Scan button located on the left hand side. The user simply clicks this button and glides the mouse slowly, in any direction or pattern, over a photo or document. As the mouse is moved over the image, the digital image instantaneously appears on the screen.

Once the image is complete, one of the great advantages of this mouse appears: the software allows the user to save the image in various formats such as Jpeg, PNG and Doc, print the document or send the image to an application. If that is not enough, it also gives the option of sharing the image with contacts on social networks like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. This allows for the freedom to save images in the most commonly used formats across all applications.

The IRIScan has a black sleek design with a blue trimming that makes it one eye catching device, which also happens to run exceptionally smooth over a desk.

It’s not perfect. The one thing I would have liked is for it to be wireless. The position of the Scan button means it can occasionally be activated with the pressure or position of the hand. A slight adjustment to the location would resolve the problem.

The main downfall, however, is that the document or picture being scanned must be completely flat and smooth, or the image may have slight distortion. It also does not allow for scanning a full page in a book or manual. As soon as the mouse reaches the “downhill” point at which the page connects to the spine, the image becomes blurred and unreadable. For people who work with bound documents or various books, this would be a major drawback.

Aside from those issues, the IRIScan Mouse certainly delivered on expectations. As long as documents are being scanned on a flat surface, i.e. a desk, this mouse is money well spent.

* Natalie Victor is a creative director on TV and film productions, and a media lover and gadget fanatic in her spare time.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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