Turn your mobile phone into a document scanner with Scanr app

I would give anything to have had this Scanr tool a decade ago when, as a beat reporter, I had to frequently photocopy documents for news stories. When I was still covering the Cebu City Hall beat, I did a series of news reports that exposed illegal collection of fees and various other transactions disallowed by government auditors. These stories were from documents officials never intended to be released to the media.

Scanr mobile application STEP 1. Scan the document using your phone camera. Fill as much of the phone screen with the document you want processed. Click on photo to view larger image.

I had a City Hall source whom I befriended after weeks of offering free cigarettes (there, smoking can do something good) at the hallway. We became such good cigarette break friends that I started asking him for documents officials did not want released.

How to use scanr STEP 2. Start the application. It will open with an image gallery. Browse the photos and look for the images you want processed. Click on photo for larger image.

The source would alert me during our cigarette breaks whenever a document I requested was already available. I’d then go to the press room, get a brown envelope, go to the comfort room and get the documents from him. I’d then rush to the photocopier and, while chewing on my nails, wait for her to finish copying the papers. I’d then go back to the City Hall comfort room and then return the papers.

Using scanr to scan documents STEP 3. Click on a photo and mark whether it is a document, business card, or a whiteboard snapshot. Click on photo to view larger image.

In one of these exchanges, I panicked because the source said I should return the papers immediately but I wasn’t able to find a vacant copier near City Hall. I had to cross several blocks.

Looking back while playing with Scanr these past days made me think how easier things might have been for me using the service and its mobile application.

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Using mobile technology to control entry to houses, spy on intruders

Bulacan State University had the most number of entries to this year’s Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (Sweep) Innovation and Excellence Award. The school’s Smart Phone Guard application took the top prize.

BSU could have taken the top two prizes had it combined its two home security projects: Smart LockInterCom and e-Spy Mobile Security. On its own, the two projects were good but not good enough to break into the top three.

The home security project that won second place, Smart House, was better than the two BSU projects individually in that it offered both security (alarms, SMS notifications) and convenience (turning lights and appliances on and off through SMS).

SMS controlled house CONTROLLED THROUGH SMS. The project model of Bulacan State University’s Smart LockInterCom. The system allows you to open and lock doors and windows using a Java application in your phone that provides a visual interface to the SMS commands. Click on photo to view larger image.

Smart LockInterCom allows people to open and close doors and windows in their houses using SMS. The team that created the system also created a Java application that simplifies the process in your cell phone. The Java application provides a visual representation of your house or office and you can just click on doors to either open or lock it. The application also indicates which doors are locked.

It is that Java application that differentiates the project from others like it. The second place winner, Systems Plus College Foundation, only created the security system and you had to control it by sending SMS codes.

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