Meet The PocketScan, A High-Definition Scanner You Can Put In Your Pocket

A new Kickstarter project aims to make scanning a document as easy as moving a mouse–and it can even translate images to text.

Scanning and copying documents is still a weird aspect of office life. You still, in 2014, have to feed dead trees into big, clunky machines to copy something.


A new Kickstarter project, however, wants to make scanning a piece of paper (or maybe your face?) as easy a moving a mouse around. And if it actually delivers on that goal, it could be a pretty big deal.

This is the PocketScan. It’s about as big as a stapler, and you can use it to scan stuff–everything from textbook pages to sketches to old analog photographs with which to step up your #ThrowbackThursday game on Instagram.

The portable technology is the brainchild of Alex Ilic, formerly of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. “We as a team started in the robotics area,” Ilic tells Fast Company. “We saw robots move around in completely random ways, and we always had the idea of using a camera to capture everything in front of us in very high quality.”

A few years ago, his firm Dacuda developed a scanner mouse that could be linked directly to a computer with a cable. The PocketScan, which can intake images at 400dpi (which is good enough to reprint, he claims), is merely the next permutation of that idea. It is designed for use cases when simply snapping a photo on your iPhone won’t cut it.


Ilic envisions the PocketScan being a useful tool for anyone: business people, college students, and especially designers. “One of the themes we are pushing is that we can scan things that don’t fit in a scanner,” he says. “Normally with a large design sketch, you have to cut it up to put it in.”

One of the more useful features is that the PocketScan claims to be able to scan texts and charts before automatically inputting them into an editable Word or Excel document. Furthermore, PocketScan can also recognize 198 different languages, meaning it could be a useful on-the-go translator if you are also carrying an iPad around and navigating from pamphlets. (“I use it very often in Asia,” he says.)

Still, it is a Kickstarter project, which carries with it all the usual risks if you choose to back it. It’s projected to go for around $150, but early funders should be able to get it at a cheaper price.

You can learn more about the PocketScan here.


About the author

Chris is a staff writer at Fast Company, where he covers business and tech. He has also written for The Week, TIME, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, and more.