Pathway Innovations and Technologies has updated its document camera line with what's billed as the world’s first 4K, USB 3.0 document camera with full-motion video: the Hovercam Solo 8.

Building on the previous model, the Hovercam Solo 5, the latest model features ultra HD 4K resolution, full motion (30 fps) recording, high speed USB 3.0 connectivity and improved Optical Character Recognition (OCR) that allows scanning of documents into editable text.

It's also smaller than the Solo 5, with folded dimensions of 1.5 x 3.5 x 11.4 inches (3.8 x 8.9 x 28.9 cm) and weighing in at 2.2 lbs. (1.0 kg). The weight is directed towards the base to provide extra stability. The unit can manually zoom from 5 cm (for close up shots) to 50 cm (for full document shots). The camera head has 4 LED lights, inbuilt microphone with noise reduction, and it can be flipped in all the directions for added versatility.

The use of USB 3.0 enables uncompressed 8 megapixel images to be streamed in full motion ultra HD video with no visible lag. There are other document cameras available in the market with image sensors ranging from 10-20 megapixels, but many of these result in only 1 megapixel resolution because of a lack of supporting processors and software. Hovercam Solo 8 can also be used with USB 2.0 with slight MJPEG compression.

“Many document camera manufacturers claim they can achieve a 30fps frame rate over USB, but it usually only happens at a low resolution like VGA,” says Kamille Franchomme, Pathway’s product marketing manager. “The Solo 8 is the only document camera that delivers 4K resolution – which is 20x VGA resolution – while maintaining full-motion frame rate. This is a breakthrough in document camera performance."

The Solo 8 incorporates new image processing technology called Photon 1.0, which is designed to bring out the best image, color, the highest resolution and the fastest frame rate. Integrated with ASR (Adaptive Sensor Resolution) this allows the document camera's digital zoom to gauge best pixel resolution and optimize the image quality.

The company says the document camera's Flex 10 software provides more convenience in terms of importing live video and manually selecting exposure and focus options, as well as enabling annotation over live video and the ability to capture still images with a click on the screen while the video is streaming. Flex 10 is compatible with both Windows and Mac (though at this stage it is not compatible with previous Hovercam models).

The HoverCam Solo 8 Document Scanner costs US$349.

Product page: HoverCam

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