Typewriter Talk

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?



14-3-2017 22:47:02  #1


Using a Character Recognition Progam on a modified typewriter

Hi all.
I would like to start a thread to discuss an idea I had a few years ago for making a 'Steam Punk' style typewriter.
I say steam punk for a lack of a better phrase but that is where I got the idea from so that's what I'm calling it.

The basic idea was to interface a typewriter, either manual or electro-mechanical, with a computer.
This was at the time that the mods were being done using a micro switch on every key with an interface to allow one to use the typewriter as the keyboard or as an auxiliary keyboard for writing.
My idea at the time was to exchange the typewriter for the computer key board but also to remove the platen/carriage assembly and replace it with a small camera eye mounted at the print point.

Because many people who like the typewriter as keyboard modification still want the typewriter to function as normal ( to allow them to type on paper at the same time as on the computer ) I had another idea to mount a small camera that sees just to the left of the print point and then only one character at a time.
Rather than having the camera run as a video capture, it would have to be set up to take only one frame as each character was made.
So I am looking for any kind of input on this. I don't think I'll pursue building the device at this time but it would be interesting to get the thoughts of the many dangerous intellectuals that hang out around here.

 

15-3-2017 14:04:27  #2


Re: Using a Character Recognition Progam on a modified typewriter

Does the technology even exist that allows for OCR-type capture to be performed in real time using a camera or other devices? It would have to work extremely fast, and it seems to me that a camera lens focused anywhere near the type point would have to contend with the vibrators movement and potential obstructions by alignment guides and other carriage components.

Rather than a camera, I could maybe see a thin device being used that would mount on and move with the carriage. The paper would feed into it and the device would scan the text line by line as it passes through, much like the way a portable scanner works. That it would have to function in real time would require sensors and software - all of which is well out of my realm to comment on.  


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

15-3-2017 15:28:22  #3


Re: Using a Character Recognition Progam on a modified typewriter

Rattle Tap wrote:

Because many people who like the typewriter as keyboard modification still want the typewriter to function as normal ( to allow them to type on paper at the same time as on the computer ) I had another idea...

I believe the USB typewriter mod--the one that I normally read about--allows you to still use the typewriter as normal, either separately or at the same time as using it for computer input.
 

 

15-3-2017 16:27:16  #4


Re: Using a Character Recognition Progam on a modified typewriter

Where I work we use high speed cameras and stop motion equipment as part of our production process.
We have many instances where a camera or some other device is triggered by the passing of a unit of product by a sensor and a picture or some other piece of information about that individual unit will be recorded to the SPC collection computer.
I'm sure the technology exists I'm just not sure if it can be applied as I have described here.
It would not be a big deal to place a trigger for a camera ( for the camera, think very small objective with a fiber optic cable to connect it to the collector) and the trigger would have to be tripped by something that every printing key stroke would activate like the type bar or escapement.
It seems that the challenge comes in with the integration of the camera and the OCR software and the application on the computer that is storing the collected images.
This is where I begin to falter, as I can think of several different ways this might all be done but, I have no idea witch one would work or may already be in use.
I don't want to reinvent the wheel.
 

     Thread Starter
 

15-3-2017 16:48:01  #5


Re: Using a Character Recognition Progam on a modified typewriter

SoucekFan wrote:

Rattle Tap wrote:

Because many people who like the typewriter as keyboard modification still want the typewriter to function as normal ( to allow them to type on paper at the same time as on the computer ) I had another idea...

I believe the USB typewriter mod--the one that I normally read about--allows you to still use the typewriter as normal, either separately or at the same time as using it for computer input.
 

Yes, I have seen those.
While they seem to be just the thing, I think they are needlessly complicated and require too much alteration of what may be ones favorite typewriter.
The device I have in mind could potentially be fixed to an adjustable arm that sat near by and basically observes what you type in real time so that the writer is able to use what ever typewriter they wish and the additional step of scanning or transcribing the work in to the computer for editing, is already done.
 

     Thread Starter
 

15-3-2017 17:34:18  #6


Re: Using a Character Recognition Progam on a modified typewriter

Rattle Tap wrote:

The device I have in mind could potentially be fixed to an adjustable arm that sat near by and basically observes what you type in real time...

Okay. I thought you were talking about modifying a typewriter. I didn't realize you were talking about creating a peripheral device.

 

15-3-2017 17:57:02  #7


Re: Using a Character Recognition Progam on a modified typewriter

Honestly said, I don't see the process of scanning typed pages and letting OCR software take care of the rest as a burden, especially not since I usually only digitize typed text when it's close to being a final draft. And while some trick set-up that would seamlessly digitize what I'm typing, as I'm typing it, would certainly appeal to my gadget needs, I'd most likely be too cheap to buy such a product, at least not when my current set-up already works so well for me. 


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

15-3-2017 18:09:35  #8


Re: Using a Character Recognition Progam on a modified typewriter

Rattle Tap, if you don't want to reinvent the wheel, just go with one of the current USB keyboard designs. Your idea offers greater installation simplicity but at the expense of much greater development struggles. Consider that you will have to deal with: Backspacing, both with the key for one space at a time and with the carriage release for an unknown number of spaces; Overstrikes on typos at that unknown location; How to deal with Carriage Return (just insert a space at the CR because most typists do not space at the right end of a line [but then how to deal with a hyphenated word there] or treat it as a new paragraph; How to deal with Tabs and Tables; and probably other concerns. The camera will have no knowledge of anything going on apart from character impressions.

OK. Fix it in the computer edit. At that point it is probably easier to just edit the OCRed paper page.

True, many of these problems also exist with the USB keyboard things so maybe they have a way to deal with them or maybe they ignore them in the advertising. 

When you look at the big picture, though, the whole concept is nothing but an indulgence.

Writers using a typewriter to avoid distractions will not be drawn to the complications. Tinkerers will love it.

 

15-3-2017 18:45:48  #9


Re: Using a Character Recognition Progam on a modified typewriter

Yes, it is most certainly an indulgence but, we who type in the age of the computer are no stranger to self indulgence, are we ?
While this device could be made fairly economically it is certainly nothing more than a gadget for the typist that has it all and I never intended to take it to market. It's just something fun to think about.
Uwe you are right to point out that it is just as easy, if not more so, to scan the completed typed page in to Word or something and take it from there but, like some others, I like to type on a continuous roll sometimes and this can be problematic for scanning.
The original idea comes from the 'Steam Punk' art and adventure culture. I am not a part of that scene but I do like some of it, more from the sci-fi aspect.
Some of what I write is  gathered from the eccentric leaning of the genre and art much as the USB typewriter was developed from the early artists efforts.
 

     Thread Starter
 

15-3-2017 21:28:34  #10


Re: Using a Character Recognition Progam on a modified typewriter

I could see the usefulness of such a device that could easily attach to an otherwise unmodified typewriter. Attach it to the ribbon vibrator and connect a thin serial cable to your smart device or computer. You could use one of these with any type writer in your collection. As for the camera, cell phone cameras are very small including the lens; one of these might work if it was designed to focus close in.

 

Board footera

 

Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum

Typewriter Talk