Photo Scanning; Reinvented
If you have a box of unscanned photos in your house, you probably know you have three options to get them digitized.
- A conventional scanner (sloooooow)
- A paid service (expensive, risky)
- Take a picture of a picture with your phone. (glare, crop, etc.)
Each one of these options also require you to tag and organize your photos later, or it will be hard to find exactly what you are looking for. For many people, neither of these options are ideal, so they pick option 4. Do nothing. Today, QromaScan (think 'crow-ma-scan') offers a newer, smarter way to scan and organize your photos.
We’ve built the ultimate post-PC photo scanner that captures and tags your photos in one step with the two things you probably use the most everyday; your iPhone and your voice.
Tag Photos with Voice Recognition
Take 60 seconds and watch a demo of how easy it is to tag your photos with QromaScan's simple voice recognition technology. Tell us the date, location and people in the photo, and we will tag it with searchable metadata you can take to Lightroom, iPhoto or other photo organization programs.
Other Key Features
- Bookish & Brilliant: Born to be as thin and portable as a book, QromaScan goes wherever your photos are. Use it at home, or slip it in your bag for a trip to grandma's house. In a flash, it transforms into a sturdy photo lightbox where the 12 brilliant LED lights tucked inside are calibrated to make your photos look perfect.
- Blisteringly Fast: Slide in photo; Snap! Slide in photo; Snap! Get the picture? We do too! Our innovative software finds your photo against the chroma-green background and dials in exactly the best settings before it scans and crops it perfectly.
- Flip for It: So much of our family history is written on the back of our photos. QromaScan loves the back of your photos too! Use our innovative Backscan command, and your most important photos are flippable. Literally.
- Eureka!: You know that thing you do when you’re are looking for a photo? Scrolling up and down, and down and up? Forget that. QromaScan makes it dead simple to find the photos you’ve just scanned. Type in a few letters of a name or location and there they are, in date order. Better yet, make a Photo Playlists and use a combination of Date, Location or People to create a dynamic album that grows whenever you scan in more matching photos.
The QromaScan Lightbox
High Quality Images
The cameras inside our iPhones can produce very high quality images, but as anyone that has ever tried to take a picture of a picture can tell you, the results aren’t always perfect. As hard as you try to get your phone at just the right height and angle, there’s always some glare or blurriness that can ruin the shot. Getting it to crop correctly is also nearly impossible.
The Lightbox eliminates all of these problems by providing the most ideal environment for photo scanning. For example:
- With the Lightbox, your phone and the images are in perfect alignment, so the images are cropped correctly.
- The distance between the camera lens and the photos is a known fixed point, so our software dials in just the right focal length, eliminating any chance of blurry scans.
- We also set the perfect exposure and white balance because we know the exact color temperature of the LED lights that illuminate the Lightbox.
The QromaScan App
Lots of other apps make you touch the screen to take a scan, crop the image, or save a file. That kills the scanning workflow and slows things way down.
We used a totally different approach. From the moment you enter scan mode and place your iPhone on the Lightbox, everything is handled using our voice recognition engine. This frees your hands to slide the photos in and out.
Photo Tagging Made Easy
QromaScan is the world’s first photo scanner that tags your photos using a voice recognition engine. Just tell us the data, location and people that are in your photos, and we will add the metadata tags as you scan.
"Qroma, The Date is August 1st, 1957 the Place is Honolulu International Airport"
From this, we create the right date and location tags and write it directly to the file. If fact, we geotag the image with the precise location of Honolulu International Airport.
Here's what the tags created by QromaScan looks like when viewed on a computer:
You can say an exact address, and we'll geotag the photo with the GPS coordinates. For example, say something like:
“The place is 1 Infinite Loop”
We'll find the location, and your photo metadata will look like this:
We wanted to make it simple to find the images you’ve tagged. Nothing is as frustrating as having to scroll up and down when hunting for a photo you want.
In the gallery, just type the first few letters of a person or location, and you will see those photos sorted in chronological order.
A lot of our photos have things written on the back of them. It was metadata in the physical world. Even though QromaScan can translate these facts into photo metadata using voice recognition, there is a lot of value in the handwriting itself. For this reason, we created a special feature called BackScan to preserve these notes.
When scanning one of these photos, just flip it over and say the word ‘BackScan’. The QromaScan app scans the back of the photos and associates it with the front image that was just scanned. We bind these two images together in the Gallery, and we have a special 'dog-eared' thumbnail for them.
When looking at the photo in detail view, tapping on the Flip icon reveals the BackScan.
QromaScan will allow you to import a standard GEDCOM file into our speech recognition engine so that names from your family tree can be recognized for tagging photos.
Photo Editing Built In
Why wait until you've moved your scans over to a computer to touch them up? QromaScan has built in the popular Aviary photo editing tools right into the Gallery. You can crop, rotate and do tons of other photo editing without leaving your iPhone.
The QromaScan Story
In many ways, the QromaScan story started when I was 28 and lost my father to lung cancer. Though we were not exceptionally close, we both shared a love of traveling to foreign countries. As I went through the stacks of photos he had left behind, it struck me what a mystery some of those images were. I simply didn’t know much about the dates, places or people in many of them. Some of them were important-looking, and one in particular stood out.
The photos, which at one time were important enough to take, now were at risk of having their stories lost. Once I made this realization, I decided that every photo I had would contain the digital equivalent of a note on the back of the photo documenting the date, location and people in the photo.
I learned about something called photo metadata, which was a way to tag images very much the same way music is tagged in MP3s. However, this was hard to do correctly. I learned about industry standards, wrote some specialized software, and slavishly tagged every photos I had. Today I have about 40,000 images; each containing the photo metadata that connects the collection together.
Zip forward to today, I looked around and realized that for most of my friends, as far as photos went, they still had a digital life and a paper one. Most of their photos older than 10 years were in boxes, while the rest were on their phones or computers. Photos scanners hadn’t made enough of a breakthrough to compel us to digitize our boxes, and technology hadn’t made it easier to organize photos. The market needed innovation.
At the same time speech recognition technology has made a leap forward, and I realized that my geeky process of tagging photos could be made much simpler by the one tool that everyone knows how to use; their voice.
Suddenly, the idea behind QromaScan was born; an easy to use tool that scans and organizes your box of photos in one step using voice recognition.
Izzy and Lulu run down some our prototypes in this video
Follow us, please!
We met a ton of great people on our way to bringing QromaScan to market. Some were brave enough to come on camera, and I'd like thank Shannon, Stacy, McKenna, Sara, Izzy and Lucia for helping us tell our story. Huge thanks to Jared at Acrylonics in San Jose for the plastic wonderland that practically became our R&D lab.
Risks and challenges
Building a next generation scanning solution required overcoming a number of design challenges, both on the hardware and software side.
Although at first glance the QromaScan Lightbox looks relatively simple, a lot of iterative testing cycles were required to make sure that the final product met all of our design goals. To reduce manufacturing risk, we cycled through several stages of prototype development. From 3D models to CNC routed ABS prototypes, we continually refined the Lightbox into its final form. Once we felt we had achieved our design standards, we found a manufacturing partner that allowed us a way to make real world production samples. We further refined three production samples until we were satisfied that the QromaScan Lightbox was both functional and durable. We have product in hand now that we know we can manufacture quickly and efficiently.
There were challenges on the software side as well. We know that scanning photos is something nobody wants to do twice, so getting the software right the first time was important to us.
In many ways, the QromaScan iOS application is quite cutting edge. We used two different voice recognition platforms together to detect not only dates and locations, but also proper names in your contact list. We spent over a year developing, testing and iterating the software to ensure that the thing that makes QromaScan shines so brightly comes through in the finished product.
Looking back, we think going slow and iterating helped us mitigate some of the most important risks involved in bringing a cutting edge, new product to market.
Looking forward, we are planning for success to help us lower unforeseen risks. We lined up 3 excellent suppliers, and we have communicated our timeline to them. We feel confident that we can deliver both our hardware and software to our backers by the time we have planned. Throughout this cycle, we will keep everyone, not just our backers, updated on our progress.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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