The scanner is a technological device, used to explore a body, image, document, environment, among others; in this way, its use extends to various areas, such as medicine, computing, electronics, informatics, among others. On the other hand, it is important to mention that the word scanner comes from the English term scanner , which translated into Spanish means: explore, examine or record. It should be noted that there are different types of scanner, according to the field in which it is used.

What is the function of a scanner?

The scanner is a device whose main function is to track, explore or examine an object, person or specific phenomenon; in order to obtain data, internal images, among other types of information, which will be used later to be studied and analyzed; all this in order to solve a problem or situation raised. In the same vein, the benefits provided by the scanner are varied and among which the following can be mentioned:

Convert images and objects into digital data

The scanner allows you to convert an unlimited amount of images and objects into digital information in just a few steps and in a short period of time; with which, said data can be stored on mobile devices, computers, smartphones, among others; as well as, the scanned information can be forwarded to other users who need it, according to the objectives of the information that has been passed to the computer.

Streamline administrative processes

The scanner is a practical tool, used today in most offices and homes. This is due to the fact that it streamlines the administrative procedures related to the copying and forwarding of valuable information, in addition, it also guarantees that the information is kept as is, that is to say; It prevents errors, such as there may be when transcribing a document.

Easy acquisition and use

Today, the computer scanner is a basic computing device that can be purchased at any establishment that sells computing devices. In addition, the use of it is simple and fast; since, in just a few steps and without the need for advanced knowledge of technology, it is possible to make efficient and correct use of this device (even the installation is simple).

Scanner types

The scanner is a technological device, used in medicine, computing, business, among other areas; in each one of them, it fulfills a specific function and depending on the area where it is employed, its physical structure changes. Thus, the main types of scanners are the following:

Computer or computer scanner

The computer or computer scanner is the best known and used worldwide. The function of this device is to convert printed documents or images into digital formats; all this, through the use of light. In addition, it is important to note that the computer scanner was developed in 1984 by the Microtek company , to be used with an Apple Macintosh computer ; this device had a resolution of 200 dpi.

Today, technology has advanced exponentially and scanners are in color and with wider resolutions; Likewise, there are 3D scanners, in which three-dimensional objects are used. In addition, there are applications for smartphones that perform this function.

It should be mentioned that there are different types of computer or computer scanners, among them are:

  • Flatbed scanner : they are the best known and easiest to use; they are also known as a tabletop scanner.
  • Microfilm scanners : these are more specialized devices, and their use is focused on the digitization of roll film, microfiche and aperture cards.
  • Sheet-fed scanner : this type of scanner uses the same technology as flatbed scanners, with higher capacity and performance (used in stationery, publishing or business).
  • Slide scanner : used to scan a collection of slides and those documents or formats that cannot be scanned directly.
  • Drum scanners : they are used mostly by establishments specialized in photocopying and printing. In this sense, they are the most expensive scanners due to their high quality and resolution. In addition, its useful life is very long.

Medical scanner

The scanner used in the field of medicine, also known as CAT (computerized axial tomography), is a device that allows obtaining images and precise and relevant information from the interior of the human or animal body. In this perspective, it is used to diagnose diseases and pathologies such as cancer; in turn, it is used in examinations and pre-operative tests.

Barcode scanner

Device used in businesses, shops and in general, in any product sales establishment; It consists of a reader that, when registering the barcode placed on a product, shows its data on the computer screen, such as price, name, weight, quantity, among others.

Security scanner

The security scanner is used mainly in airports and customs; Its operation consists of accessing images of the human body or objects such as suitcases and luggage, in order to detect irregularities, entry of weapons, explosives, drugs, among others.

ID scanner

The identification scanner uses biometric techniques to recognize an individual who can access a certain place, information, among others. In this sense, the identification scanner uses parts of the body such as fingerprints, iris or retina of the eye, to fulfill its function. A clear example of this type of scanner is the unlocking option that some smartphones have.

Automotive scanner

The automotive scanner is perhaps one of the least known; however, it provides great benefits with its use. In this same direction, the automotive scanner serves to monitor and detect faults in the automobile system; in turn, through this you can programs and adapt the automotive system for optimal operation.

Radio frequency scanner

This type of scanner is used to search within the radio spectrum for any signal that is being broadcast at that time. It is often used to study the cosmos or detect signals in general.

Scanner Operation

The scanner, regardless of its type or field in which it is used, has a basic operating mechanism, which consists of the use of a light source, which conducts, through mirrors, the information (images, documents and data) that are it scans, and later, converts it into digital formats, by means of an analog-digital converter.

In this way, the data travels to a technological device (computer, smartphones, tablets, among others) where the information obtained can be viewed, saved, edited, forwarded, studied and analyzed, according to the requirements and needs that are have.

It is important to note that the main component of every scanner is the CCD (charge coupled device, for its acronym in English), said electrical device, reacts to light and is responsible for transmitting information; with more or less electricity, according to its intensity and color.

Scanner Features

There are certain specific characteristics that must be taken into account to acquire a scanner and to be able to obtain an efficient, practical and highly useful device for companies and organizations of any kind; that, in addition, it adapts to the needs of each individual. In this sense, the characteristics of the scanner are:

  • Resolution : refers to the maximum number of dots per square inch that the device can scan without distorting the document, image or object. On the other hand, there are also optical resolutions; These refer to the previews and default views that the scanner may contain.
  • Number of bits : the number of bits a scanner uses is directly related to its ability to capture large amounts and varieties of colors. For this reason, the higher the number of bits, the better the quality of the scanner.
  • Capture speed : it will determine the number of pages that can be scanned per minute, and will be closely related to the format of the document and the resolution used by the scanner.


The scanner is undoubtedly a very useful device, since nowadays, with the enormous boom in technology, administrative, managerial and general procedures of any kind must be done as quickly as possible and always with quality. That is why the scanner, in its different types and fields of application, constitutes a very useful and versatile tool, since it allows digitizing information, maintaining its quality, therefore, it can be said that it is essential for some areas and activities.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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