Title:
Scanner and scanning method having adjustable length of turn region
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A scanner and a scanning method having adjustable length of turn region are disclosed. The scanner comprises a first fixed element having an entry for a paper-in end; a U-turn element; and a second fixed element having an exit for a paper-out end. In addition, the scanner further comprises at least one first movable element located between the exit of the first fixed element and the entry of the U-turn element; and at least one second movable element located between the exit of the U-turn element and the entry of the second fixed element. Moreover, the scanning method comprises: firstly inputting the length of the document into the scanner; comparing the length of the document with the length of turn region; adjusting the length of turn region according to the comparison result; scanning the document.



Inventors:
Tseng, Wen-chao (Taichung, TW)
Application Number:
10/347405
Publication Date:
07/22/2004
Filing Date:
01/21/2003
Assignee:
VEUTRON CORPORATION
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65H15/00; (IPC1-7): B65H5/22
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
JOERGER, KAITLIN S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LOWE HAUPTMAN GOPSTEIN GILMAN & BERNER, LLP (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A scanner having an adjustable length of a turn region suitable for double-side scanning a document, wherein when the scanner is used to scan the document having a first size, the turn region has a first path, and the scanner comprises: a first fixed element, wherein an entry of the first fixed element is a paper-in end; a U-turn element, wherein two hooks of an entry of the U-turn element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of the first fixed element respectively; and a second fixed element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of the second fixed element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of the U-turn element respectively, and an exit of the second fixed element is a paper-out end; wherein when the scanner is used to scan the document having a second size, the U-turn element moves towards the entry of the first fixed element and the exit of the second fixed element, thereby enabling the document to pass a second path.

2. The scanner according to claim 1, further comprising at least one first movable element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of each of the at least one first movable element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of another of the at least one first movable element or the two hooks located on the exit of the first fixed element respectively, and two hooks located on an exit of each of the at least one first movable element are engaged with two hooks located on an entry of another of the at least one first movable element or the two hooks located on the entry of the U-turn element respectively; and at least one second movable element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of each of the at least one second movable element are engaged with two hooks located an exit of another of the at least one second movable element or the two hooks located on the exit of the U-turn element respectively, and two hooks located on an exit of each of the at least one second movable element are engaged with two hooks located on an entry of another of the at least one second movable element or the two hooks located on the entry of the second fixed element respectively.

3. The scanner according to claim 1, further comprising an image-reading device, wherein before the document enters the first fixed element, the image-reading device is used to scan one side of the document; and after the document leaves the second fixed element, the image-reading device is used to scan the other side of the document.

4. The scanner according to claim 1, further comprising: a worm gear, wherein one end of the worm gear is connected to the U-turn element, and the other end of the worm gear is a free end; and a gear making the worm gear to proceed with translation by rotation, thereby driving the U-turn element to move.

5. The scanner according to claim 1, further comprising a roller located on an inner side of the U-turn element.

6. A scanner having an adjustable length of a turn region suitable for double-side scanning, wherein the scanner comprises: a first fixed element, wherein an entry of the first fixed element is a paper-in end; a first movable element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of the first movable element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of the first fixed element respectively, and the first movable element is retractile; a U-turn element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of the U-turn element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of the first movable element respectively; a second movable element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of the second movable element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of the U-turn element respectively, and the second movable element is retractile; and a second fixed element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of the second fixed element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of the second movable element respectively, and an exit of the second fixed element is a paper-out end.

7. The scanner according to claim 6, further comprising an image-reading device, wherein before a document enters the first fixed element, the image-reading device is used to scan one side of the document; and after the document leaves the second fixed element, the image-reading device is used to scan the other side of the document.

8. The scanner according to claim 6, further comprising: a worm gear, wherein one end of the worm gear is connected to the U-turn element, and the other end of the worm gear is a free end; and a gear making the worm gear to proceed with translation by rotation, thereby driving the U-turn element to move.

9. The scanner according to claim 6, further comprising a roller located on an 10 inner side of the U-turn element.

10. A scanning method having an adjustable length of a turn region suitable for double-side scanning a document, wherein when a scanner is used to scan the document having a first size, the turn region has a first path, and the scanning method comprises: inputting a length of the document into the scanner; comparing the length of the document with the length of the turn region; adjusting the length of the turn region according to a result from the comparing step; and scanning the document.

11. The scanning method according to claim 10, wherein the inputting step is achieved via a computer.

12. The scanning method according to claim 10, wherein the inputting step is achieved via a user interface (UI) of the scanner.

13. The scanning method according to claim 10, wherein the scanner comprises: a first fixed element, wherein an entry of the first fixed element is a paper-in end; a U-turn element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of the U-turn element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of the first fixed element respectively; and a second fixed element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of the second fixed element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of the U-turn element respectively, and an exit of the second fixed element is a paper-out end; wherein when the scanner is used to scan the document having a second size, the U-turn element moves towards the entry of the first fixed element and the exit of the second fixed element, thereby making the document to pass a second path.

14. The scanning method according to claim 13, wherein the scanner further comprises at least one first movable element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of each of the at least one first movable element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of another of the at least one first movable element or the two hooks located on the exit of the first fixed element respectively, and two hooks located on an exit of each of the at least one first movable element are engaged with two hooks located on an entry of another of the at least one first movable element or the two hooks located on the entry of the U-turn element respectively; and at least one second movable element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of each of the at least one second movable element are engaged with two hooks located an exit of another of the at least one second movable element or the two hooks located on the exit of the U-turn element respectively, and two hooks located on an exit of each of the at least one second movable element are engaged with two hooks located on an entry of another of the at least one second movable element or the two hooks located on the entry of the second fixed element respectively.

15. The scanning method according to claim 13, wherein the scanner further comprises an image-reading device, wherein before the document enters the first fixed element, the image-reading device is used to scan one side of the document; and after the document leaves the second fixed element, the image-reading device is used to scan the other side of the document.

16. The scanning method according to claim 13, wherein the scanner further comprises: a worm gear, wherein one end of the worm gear is connected to the U-turn element, and the other end of the worm gear is a free end; and a gear making the worm gear to proceed with translation by rotation, thereby driving the U-turn element to move.

17. The scanning method according to claim 13, wherein the scanner further comprises a roller located on an inner side of the U-turn element.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a scanner and a scanning method, and more particularly, to a scanner and a scanning method having adjustable length of turn region.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Recently, workstations and personal computers, etc. have been developed to have high performance and be able to proceed with rapid processing of full-color image. Accompanying with the development, scanners used to convert photos, slides, or manuscripts to digital data have become more and more popular.

[0003] Scanners can be classified into types including flat bed scanner and drum scanner, etc. The master copy stand of the flat bed scanner is a flat plane and the flat bed scanner adopts a charge coupled device (CCD) to be a photoreceptor. The master copy stand of the drum scanner is a transparent acrylic drum and the drum scanner adopts a photomultiplier (PMT) to be a photoreceptor.

[0004] Accompanying with the development of the CCD technique, almost all of the scanners currently in the market are color flat bed scanners. The flat bed scanner is usually cheaper than the traditional drum scanner, but both can scan in similar quality.

[0005] Please refer to FIG. 1 showing the side view of a turn region of the conventional scanner. The turn region 10 in FIG. 1 is used for double-side scanning a document (not shown). Before the document enters the turn region 10 in the paper-in direction as shown by an arrow 20, the scanning of the first side (the side facing downward in FIG. 1) of the document can be done by the action of a light source (not shown) and an image-reading device 50. Then, the document enters the upper part of the turn region 10 in the paper-in direction as shown by an arrow 20. Afterwards, the document can turn smoothly and go forward continuously by the assistance of a roller 30, and then enters the lower part of the turn region 10. At this time, the aforementioned first side of the document faces upward naturally, and the second side of the document faces downward naturally. Then, the document leaves the turn region 10 in the paper-out direction as shown by an arrow 40. After the document leaves the turn region 10, the scanning of the second side of the document facing downward can be done by the action of the light source and the image-reading device 50. Therefore, the document can proceed with double-side scanning smoothly by the turn region 10.

[0006] Even though the document can be double-side scanned smoothly via the turn region 10 as shown in FIG. 1, the following disadvantages still exist. Since every scanner has its own maximum size of the document allowed to be scanned (such as A4), hence the length 60 of the turn region 10 needs to be designed according to this maximum size. Therefore, if the scanner is used to double-side scan the document having the maximum size, no problem will happen certainly. However, if the scanner is used to double-side scan a document having a size (such as A5) smaller than the maximum size, the smaller document still has to pass the same path and consume the same time to complete the double-side scanning, because the length 60 of every conventional double-side scanner cannot be changed. In fact, the smaller the size of the document is, the more the time is wasted. Therefore, it is necessary to find a solution.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] Just as described above, the length of turn region of the conventional double-side scanner cannot be changed, so that there is a disadvantage of wasting time during scanning the document having a smaller size. Therefore, an objective of the present invention is to provide a scanner and a scanning method having adjustable length of turn region, thereby adjusting the length of turn region according to different paper lengths.

[0008] Another objective of the present invention is to provide a scanner and a scanning method having adjustable length of turn region, thereby shortening the scanning time.

[0009] According to the aforementioned objectives of the present invention, the present invention provides a scanner having an adjustable length of turn region suitable for use in double-side scanning a document, wherein when the scanner is used to scan the document having a maximum size, the turn region has a longest path, and the scanner comprises: a first fixed element, wherein an entry of the first fixed element is a paper-in end; a U-turn element, wherein two hooks of an entry of the U-turn element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of the first fixed element respectively; and a second fixed element, wherein two hooks of an entry of the second fixed element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of the U-turn element respectively, and an exit of the second fixed element is a paper-out end, wherein when the scanner is used to scan the document having a smaller size, the U-turn element moves towards the entry of the first fixed element and the exit of the second fixed element, thereby enabling the document to pass a shorter path. In addition, the scanner having the adjustable length of turn region of the present invention further comprises a roller located on an inner side of the U-turn element, thereby enabling the document to turn smoothly and go forward continuously in the U-turn element. Moreover, the scanner having the adjustable length of turn region of the present invention further comprises at least one first movable element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of each of the at least one first movable element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of another of the at least one first movable element or with the two hooks located on the exit of the first fixed element respectively, and two hooks of an exit of each of the at least one first movable element are engaged with two hooks located on an entry of another of the at least one first movable element or with the two hooks located on the entry of the U-turn element respectively; and at least one second movable element, wherein two hooks located on an entry of each of the at least one second movable element are engaged with two hooks located on an exit of another of the at least one second movable element or with the two hooks located on the exit of the U-turn element respectively, and two hooks located on an exit of each of the at least one second movable element are engaged with two hooks located on an entry of another of the at least one second movable element or with the two hooks located on the entry of the second fixed element respectively. Further, the scanner having the adjustable length of turn region of the present invention further comprises an image-reading device, wherein before the document enters the first fixed element, the image-reading device is used to scan one side of the document; and after the document leaves the second fixed element, the image-reading device is used to scan the other side of the document.

[0010] According to the aforementioned objectives of the present invention, the present invention further provides a scanning method having an adjustable length of turn region suitable for double-side scanning a document, wherein when the scanner is used to scan the document having a maximum size, the turn region has a longest path, and the scanning method comprises the following steps: firstly, inputting a length of the document into the scanner; then, comparing the length of the document with the length of the turn region; then, adjusting the length of the turn region according to a result from the comparing step; and afterwards, scanning the document. Furthermore, the aforementioned inputting step can be achieved via a computer or a user interface (UI) of the scanner.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will become more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0012] FIG. 1 is a diagram showing the side view of the turn region of the conventional scanner;

[0013] FIG. 2 is a diagram showing the side view of the turn region of the scanner according to an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the turn region has been extended to the maximum length;

[0014] FIG. 3 is a diagram showing the side view of the turn region of the scanner according to an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the turn region has been shortened to the minimum length;

[0015] FIG. 4 is a diagram showing the side view of the turn region of the scanner according to another embodiment of the present invention; and

[0016] FIG. 5 is a flow chart showing the scanning method having adjustable length of turn region according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0017] The present invention relates to a scanner and a scanning method having adjustable length of turn region. Please refer to FIG. 2 showing the side view of the turn region of the scanner according to an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the turn region has been extended to the maximum length. A turn region 110 as shown in FIG. 2 is composed of a fixed element 170, a fixed element 174, a U-turn element 178, movable elements 171 to 173, and movable elements 175 to 177, etc. In the upper part of the turn region 110, two hooks 201 of the fixed element 170 are engaged with two hooks 202 of the movable element 171; two hooks 203 of the movable element 171 are engaged with two hooks 204 of the movable element 172; two hooks 205 of the movable element 172 are engaged with two hooks 206 of the movable element 173; and two hooks 207 of the movable element 173 are engaged with two hooks 208 of the U-turn element 178. At the same reason, in the lower part of the turn region 110, two hooks 211 of the fixed element 174 are engaged with two hooks 212 of the movable element 175; two hooks 213 of the movable element 175 are engaged with two hooks 214 of the movable element 176; two hooks 215 of the movable element 176 are engaged with two hooks 216 of the movable element 177; and two hooks 217 of the movable element 177 are engaged with two hooks 218 of the U-turn element 178. In the aforementioned elements of the turn region 110, only the fixed element 170 and the fixed element 174 are fixed, and other elements are movable along an appropriate horizontal direction. Since all elements are engaged with each other mutually by hooks, hence a length 160 of the turn region 110 can be shortened appropriately and the condition that the elements separated with each other will not happen.

[0018] Before the document enters the turn region 110 in the paper-in direction as shown by an arrow 120, the scanning of the first side (the side facing downward in FIG. 2) of the document can be done by the action of a light source (not shown) and an image-reading device 150. Then, the document enters the upper part of the turn region 110 in the paper-in direction as shown by an arrow 120. Afterwards, the document can turn smoothly and goes forward continuously by the assistance of a roller 130, and then enters the lower part of the turn region 110. At this time, the aforementioned first side of the document faces upward naturally, and the second side of the document faces downward naturally. Then, the document leaves the turn region 110 in the paper-out direction as shown by an arrow 140. After the document leaves the turn region 110, the scanning of the second side of the document facing downward can be done by the action of the light source and the image-reading device 150. Therefore, the document can proceed with double-side scanning smoothly by the turn region 110.

[0019] The aforementioned turn region 110 as shown in FIG. 2 has been extended to the length 160 that is longest. Therefore, the turn region 110 having the length 160 can be suitable for use in double-side scanning of the document having the maximum size. When the size of the document desired to be double-side scanned is smaller than the maximum size allowed, the length 160 can be shortened appropriately to save the scanning time. The extreme condition is that the length 160 of the turn region 110 can be shortened to a length 162 as shown in FIG. 3, wherein the turn region 110 having the length 162 can be suitable for use in double-side scanning of the document having the minimum size. In addition, the process for changing the state of the turn region 110 as shown in FIG. 2 to that as shown in FIG. 3 is desired as the following.

[0020] Firstly, the U-turn element 178 moves in the direction as shown by the arrow 140 until the hooks 208 contact the hooks 206, and the hooks 210 contact the hooks 217. Then, the U-turn element 178, the movable element 173, and the movable element 177 move together in the direction as shown by the arrow 140 until the hooks 206 contact the hooks 204, and the hooks 217 contact the hooks 215. Then, the U-turn element 178, the movable element 173, the movable element 177, the movable element 172, and the movable element 176 move together in the direction as shown by the arrow 140 until the hooks 204 contact the hooks 202, and the hooks 215 contact the hooks 213. Then, the U-turn element 178, the movable element 173, the movable element 177, the movable element 172, the movable element 176, the movable element 171, and the movable element 175 move together in the direction as shown by the arrow 140 until the hooks 202 contact the hooks 200, and the hooks 213 contact the hooks 211. At this time, the state of the turn region 110 is just as shown in FIG. 3.

[0021] Furthermore, the aforementioned description as shown in FIG. 2 is only an embodiment of the scanner of the present invention. In fact, the number of movable elements (such as the movable elements 171 to 173 and the movable elements 175 to 177) can be designed according to the actual specification of the scanner. That is, the number of movable elements can be more or less than that of the movable elements in the present embodiments, or can be even zero. If movable elements do not exist, the hooks 208 of the U-turn elements 178 will be engaged with the hooks 201 of the fixed element 170, the hooks 218 of the U-turn elements 178 will be engaged with the hooks 211 of the fixed element 174, and the objective of shortening the length 160 of the turn region 110 can be achieved similarly.

[0022] Moreover, the aforementioned the movable element 173, the movable element 177, the movable element 172, the movable element 176, the movable element 171, and the movable element 175 can be moved by the external force pushing or pulling the U-turn element 178. Further, the user can apply the external force on the U-turn element 178 directly. Or, the external force can be exerted automatically on the U-turn element 178 under the cooperation of a worm gear 180, a gear 190, and a motor (not shown) as shown in FIG. 4. One end of the worm gear 180 is connected to with the U-turn element 178, and the other end of the worm gear 180 is a free end. The gear 190 makes the worm gear 180 to proceed with translation by rotation, thereby driving the U-turn element 178 to move

[0023] As described above, when the external force exerted on the U-turn element 178 is generated automatically under the cooperation of the worm gear 180 and the gear 190, etc., the present invention further provides a scanning method comprising the steps as shown in the flow chart of FIG. 5. Firstly, as shown by a step 310, the length of the document is inputted to the scanner, wherein the step 310 can be achieved via a computer or a UI of the scanner. Then, as shown by a step 320, the length of the document and the length of the turn area are compared in the scanner. Then, as shown by a step 330, the length of the turn area is adjusted according to the result of the step 320. That is, if the length of the turn region is greater than the length needed, the length of the turn region can be shortened automatically; if the length of the turn region equals to the length needed, there is no need to adjust the length of the turn region; or, if the length of the turn region is smaller than the length needed, the length of the turn region can be lengthened automatically. Afterwards, as shown by a step 340, the document is scanned.

[0024] To sum up, an advantage of the present invention is to provide a scanner and a scanning method having adjustable length of turn region, thereby adjusting the length of turn region according different paper lengths.

[0025] Another advantage of the present invention is to provide a scanner and a scanning method having adjustable length of turn region, thereby shortening the scanning time.

[0026] As is understood by a person skilled in the art, the foregoing preferred embodiments of the present invention are illustrations of the present invention rather than limitations of the present invention. It is intended to cover various modifications and similar arrangements comprised within the spirit and scope of the appended claims, the scope of which should be accorded the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and similar structure.