Creating a Smart Scanner with Raspberry Pi Sidecar and TWAIN Direct

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By Xiao Ling, Technical Content Writer, Dynamsoft

Raspberry Pi microcomputer

TWAIN Direct is a new communication standard created by the TWAIN Working Group. It aims to simplify the development of document scanning applications. The data transmitted by TWAIN Direct is a serialized JSON object, which is not correlated to any programming language. To support TWAIN Direct, the corresponding drivers have to be pre-installed or embedded in scanner devices. With TWAIN Direct, it is convenient for developers to create document scanning apps for any platforms.
Document management automation is being widely adopted in many industries, in combination with wireless technology and cloud technology. However, according to shipment statistics for scanners, from 2010 to 2022 traditional scanners are still taking a large market share. To save cost, many companies are not ready to replace them with new smart scanners. Therefore, they have the critical problem of how to make their traditional scanners smart. Connecting scanners to a central PC is one way, but too expensive. A more economical workaround is to use Raspberry Pi – a kind of cheap microcomputer that costs around $35.
Dynamsoft is now experimenting on this front. The idea is to run a background service that supports TWAIN Direct on Raspberry Pi. When the service is running, an admin can remotely configure it from a desktop web browser through the IP address of the Raspberry Pi, just like an admin configures a network router. Once the configuration is done, you can connect the Raspberry Pi device to any scanner via the USB port and make the scanner instantly discoverable on the network. The next thing is to create an app (Java, Python, C/C++, C#, PHP etc.) for sending various commands in JSON format and receiving scanned documents encoded as a base64 string. Moreover, the electronic documents can be uploaded to cloud services like Google Drive, Azure, Dropbox, and Amazon S3, with programming.  
This Raspberry Pi sidecar solution is economical and productive. It will benefit industries using traditional scanners, like education, insurance, banking, and government.

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