Computer Accessories

How does a scanner connect to a computer?
Answered by Science Channel
  • Science Channel

    Science Channel

  1. Scanners, of course, need to be connected to your computer so you can use the scanned image. Scanners usually connect via one of several different interfaces:

    • Parallel: The parallel port offers the slowest transfer rate.
    • Small Computer System Interface (SCSI): Your computer needs a special SCSI card, if it doesn't already have one, to connect to a SCSI scanner.
    • Universal Serial Bus (USB): A USB interface offers ease of use, affordability and good speed.
    • FireWire: FireWire is usually found in more expensive scanners. It's faster than other options and works well for high-resolution images.

    The traditional flatbed scanner, however it's connected, is of course fast becoming a relic of the past. Even by as early as 2004, scanner sales were plummeting almost 50 percent year over year [source: ZDNet]. Tasks they once handled are now handled more easily with other, newer technology. Where once scanners were the best way to import pictures and text into a computer, today such functions are handled by multi-function printers (the kind that scan, fax, print and probably even make coffee) and, even more so by the advent of digital picture taking for the masses. The latter has exploded in the last decade. First came dedicated digital cameras, with ever higher resolution available and the capability for even the least tech-savvy person to import pictures onto his or her computer using a simple connection. In more recent years, technology has even begun to outstrip the digital camera, as more and more people rely on their smartphones for picture taking. Indeed even lower-end cell phones often provide at least moderately high resolution cameras on-board as standard fare. Sadly, many flatbed scanners are likely gathering dust in storage closets somewhere, if they haven't already been carted off to recycling centers. They're misfit toys from a simpler time.

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