Looking for Optical Mark Recognition device?

Did you see a new gadget or toy and start brimming with ideas? See something that has tons of potential? Discuss these thoughts here.

Looking for Optical Mark Recognition device?

Postby prfesser » May 4th, 2014, 12:57 pm

A few days ago, a paper-tape reader was described here: http://hackaday.com/2014/05/02/reading- ... m-scratch/

There is a similar item that a lot of teachers would love to see. Namely, a home-built Optical Mark Recognition device for grading and analyzing multiple-choice exams. (Think SCANTRON)

I think there's software already out there that allows an ordinary scanner to do this... but my scanner is sloooowww. When you have to scan a hundred exams...

It's been years since I did any electronics work, so I couldn't design such a thing. But as a teacher myself, I can list some desirable features. Might not be attainable but you folks are pretty ingenious.

    Inexpensive (<US$100.)
    Use a PDF answer sheet that could be printed on any laser/inkjet printer, rather than expensive commercial sheets.
    Connects to the USB of a PC or Mac.
    More-or-less turnkey operation. Teacher shouldn't have to deal with programming.
    Exports results to Excel automatically.

One design aspect that would simplify construction might be vertical feed; that is, the user slides each sheet into a slot at the top, and the sheet simply drops through the reader. There would be no need for a feed mechanism that way.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Looking for Optical Mark Recognition device?

Postby k-ww » May 4th, 2014, 1:40 pm

It seems to me the best way to do this is thru a fax machine - I know in the 'old days' that there was software for a PC modem to send and receive faxes as graphic files - now take the file received from the fax, and some software ....
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Re: Looking for Optical Mark Recognition device?

Postby lastchancename » May 5th, 2014, 1:17 am

My vote would go to printing index marks on the paper/pages - and using a pre-focussed webcam (or better) - then OpenCV or other tools (MatLab etc) to scan in realtime.
Basically - as fast as you can get the paper aligned in front of the camera - it's been scanned.

You also need a way to index each sheet to each student - but that could be OCR of their name / student ID in a known box on the paper. Or type it in when scanning !

As fast as you can place the papers, they're scord and tallied to a database.
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