So I have been working on this concept in my spare time off and on and was wondering if I could get some feedback…
As designers we spend a lot of time around scanners. I have used a flatbed scanner daily over the last few years and have always had some issues with them. A few weeks ago i started sketching out concepts for fun so I just kinda kept going and pushing it further.
Some of the issues I wanted to address were…
Cord Storage, I have always been annoyed with cords on scanners especially since scanner sharing is pretty common in the office.
Office portability, this ties into the cords, but plugging and unplugging has always been a burden, and the wires always end up separate or lost form the scanner.
Aesthetics, I have always been interested in breaking form the generic black and silver plastics of the home/ office electronics market and thought it would be quite unique and appropriate considering a scanner is often a creative tool, and was heavily influenced by Marcel Breuer’s chairs. (threw a quick image board together of some inspiration.)
There are some other features as well like a flush scanning bed so paper is not crimped, horizontal opening, and a place to place scanned documents which I have also considered but are not key drivers.
So having done a good amount of sketching, I thought I could get some feedback from you guys. I am just doing this project for fun on the side and after some chipboard mockups, would eventually like to build this concept in Solid works to hone in my SW skills.
The one thing that i would like to see is a way to solve the issue with scanning anything with a bind. Obviously scanning a sheet of paper is never a problem, but I hate trying to scan in a sketchbook or magazine. I would like to see some sort of detail that compensates for the bind so that you dont get that weird distortion/discoloration that always happens. Also, the lids never close properly on thicker materials so you either a) get blinded by the light (insert Manfred Mann here) or b) have to photoshop out a lot of crap and sometimes doesnt expose the page correctly.
This older UMAX scanner had a cool hinge feature that allowed the lid to raise up vertically and hinge open to compensate for book bindings, sketchbooks, or larger items. If I remember right, you could completely remove the lid, too. It’s probably 10 years old at this point.
NURB: Don’t most scanners have that? All the scanners I’ve ever used have that feature where the lid can lift off to be parallel with the scanning surface.
The cord thing is a cool idea, but I think it’s too big and could get in the way of scanning some stuff since the scanning surface is inset and if you had a large book you wouldn’t be able to hang it off the side. I think you could look at some pull-out surfaces for when a large thing is being scanned. I also think there needs to be a more elegant solution for the cord/handles. It looks unresolved/unfinished. It’d be more elegant if the cord were more hidden when wrapped, and if the handes looked more… handle-y. These things are heavy, and those handles look like it would hurt to carry.
My second biggest pet peeve is the space it alocates. Wide + flat, and the lid hinders me to put stuff on top it for longer periods of time. Id rather have seen something done about that then the focus on mobility. Guess its more relevant in my case, but then again, its not my project
I guess our scanner here has the lid that raises, but it still struggles with anything bound. No matter how hard we try (usually pushing down on the bind hard), there is still some weirdness happening at the middle point. This happens a lot on larger books. I almost want the scan bed to go all the way to an edge so that I dont have to put in the entire book spread open. I would just hang one side off the edge, allowing the page to sit perfectly flat against the glass.
I definitely agree with the the hinge issue, sketchbooks and other bound items have always been difficult when it come to scanners, it seems that a variable hinge, something like a four bar linkage with just one linkage so it can fully open on the front would be a good solution. All the scanners I have interfaced with have never had this feature and it would definitely be useful.
A flush scanning bed would also be a great feature, I think the length can be limited by A3 size but having it flush off the edges would help scanning larger documents (8.5 by 11’s) ect. You wouldn’t be able to scan the whole document, but you could definitely scan half and not crimp the paper. The recession in the scanning bed is meant to interface with the gasket on the lid, but I think this can be solved by simply improving the gasket.
tarngerine: You bring up some good points about the handles and cord storage. I am quite split on this issue because I can see it both ways. I think incorporating the cords as part of the aesthetic could be a really nice feature, similar to the way some lamps use the exposed cording. Maybe colored USB and power cords (orange, white, ect.) I see your point about the handles though, they are definitely not your “grab me handles” but rather a subtle detail which could allow for holding. I am very inspired by incorporating elements of furniture into home electronics and think these chair leg like features could be a really nice touch. I think my next step is to do some small mock-ups to help make some decisions.
cg: Thanks! By workflow do you mean process? In terms of process I am using prisma very thins and copics to add some quick detail. For this project I have scanned (I hang out with scanners a lot) everything in and threw a gradient behind it, and have added some white quickly with the brush tool to highlight certain areas. Its a new technique for me, usually i just scan the documents, but I think the gradient is a quick way to get the canson paper effect.
Thanks again for the comments guys, I am going to be slowly working (after work) on this project over the next few weeks so I will definitely be posting some more stuff.
Very nice! I like the simple idea of letting the paper pass through the hinge, always a sore spot when I’m trying to tile scan a large sketch. Love the cord management, I like how your thinking is visible in the sketches. Also, nice inspiration board, would be also nice to see a user persona and scenario, with some images of hypethetical environment for the product.
Sketches, nice and satisfying, old school with grit and grain, like much.
Regarding USB cords, I just bought a Canon printer / scanner that is WiFi enabled (MG5280), touch the green scan button on the scanner and it scans and sends directly to your computer or another. No single simple function on a recent electronic device has made me happier, I hate cords. In a forward thinking project such as yours, I would assume no USB cabling needed and use wireless transmission.
I got some good ideas from the response from this post so I think I am going to move ahead and do some more sketching and some small chipboard mock-ups. I hope to have three concrete and separate concepts within a week or so, maybe light rendering too to start exploring material choice. Def agree with you on the user and scenario boards. I already have several instances in mind like scanner office sharing, issues with the hinge as discussed above, issue with the products physical effect on the environment (bngi referenced this as there is currently a pile of sketches piled up on my scanner), being able to fit paper through the hinge (being able to tile scan a4’s and 11 by 17’s), and the flush scanning surface to prevent crimping.
As for a persona I really do see this as a product marketed towards creatives. To me the scanner is a bridge from the analog world to the digital and is actually one of the most important tools a designer may own, even those with cintiques. While addressing all the issues of functional problem solving mentioned above, I believe the form and aestic should also be unique and tasteful, something with character as well as evoking a certain emotion; something different from the matte black and gray scanners on the market today.
Nxakt, Thanks! about the sketches, big fan of the old school style. In terms of the USB cord you bring up a great point. I def see the benefits of wireless transfer and i have considered designs where the USB is eliminated but the power cord is still kept and integrated. However there is a certain simplicity to the analog cord which I believe is satisfying, a very clear link from the scanner to the computer. However I am def going to explore some more concepts with just the power cord in this next round.