Crossing the boundary - analogue universe, digital worlds
Crossing the boundary - analogue universe, digital worlds

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Crossing the boundary - analogue universe, digital worlds

4.2.5 Scanners and OCRs

A better solution is to get some electronic help. A page of text is placed in a scanner, which produces an image of the page using techniques that I will discuss shortly. The image is passed to a computer program called an optical character recogniser (OCR), which detects each letter on the page in turn and transforms it into its digital code. This recognition is an immensely difficult task, requiring very sophisticated software, so OCRs are generally only partially effective.

SAQ 9

Why do you think recognising characters is such a difficult task for a machine?

Answer

Because the same character can be presented in many different forms.

We need to remember that computers are very simple-minded devices. We have no difficulty in recognising that

are all the same character. But a computer will interpret two images with even the smallest difference between them as completely separate things. Clever software has to be devised to tackle this problem.

M150_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus