|Title of Invention||
A METHOD FOR PRINTING UNSORTED PAGES IN SEQUENCE USING A SORTING KEY AND A SYSTEM THEREOF
|Abstract||According to the present invention, the multi function peripheral device electronically scans a bunch of unsorted pages and identifies within the scanned images a location where a sorting key such as page number, numbers, strings, bar codes, images, etc. is printed. The auto-document feeder device in scanners helps in scanning a bunch of pages without human intervention. It then converts these image sections to text using "Optical Character Recognition" technology and the converted text will then be sorted into order based on the identified sorting key and the pages will be printed in that order to provide a sorted copy of the initial bunch of pages.|
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention in general relates to printing of documents using a Multi function Peripheral (MFP) device. Further, this invention relates to rendering of the printed pages in a predetermined order using the device. More particularly, this invention relates to a multi function peripheral device capable of printing un-ordered pages of a document in sequence with the help of an ordering key present on the papers.
DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART
Multi function Peripheral (MFP) devices are widely employed for printing purposes because of their flexibility as compared to printers. It is an advantageous feature in MFPs that they can make copies of documents by scanning the documents first and then printing. A method according to the present invention effectively employs the above feature of the MFP device.
As is common knowledge in the art, sorting of the pages of a document or a bunch of papers according to page number, serial number or name is of greatest importance to provide meaningful information. It is an usual practice to sort an un-sorted group of pages before they are printed. Sorting can also be done manually after the printing is over and it is a tiresome job. There are methods and devices known in the art, which helps in ordering the pages according to predefined indexes.
US patent, 5,207,412 titled "Multi function document integrator with control Indicia on sheets" \s an example and therefore has been incorporated herein by reference. The related art talks about a system where embedded intelligence in the form of machine readable indicia printed on at least some of the sheets of a document is used by a document integrating device to control a feeding operation performed by the document integrating device. Regular sheets located in the document immediately preceding the location of an insert sheet are output with
machine-readable Information indicative of the subsequent location in the document of an insert sheet. These regular sheets are then supplied to a document integrator (either in a stack or as they are output from an imaging device). A first scanner in the document integrator scans the regular sheets as they are fed from an inlet (having, for example, a regular sheet feeder unit). When a regular sheet located in the document immediately prior to an insert sheet is fed from the inlet, the machine readable information indicative of the subsequent insert sheet is read by the first scanner. A controller of the document integrator then switches the feeding sheets from the regular sheet inlet to an insert sheet feeder unit containing insert sheets. The last insert sheet for each insert location in the document includes machine readable information thereon which causes the controller to switch back to feeding the regular sheets from the regular sheet inlet (or from some other insert sheet feeder unit).
The above-mentioned art is very useful in inserting one document in the middle of another document with the help of a demarcation sheet. When such sheet is found, the printer/copier switches input ports to take paper from another tray. This can also be used in printing a set of documents that are split into blocks of ordered sheets. Even though the above referenced prior art teachings allows the printing of different sets of documents in a predetermined order, it still needs the help of an operator to partly sort the document and place it on different trays with demarcation sheets placed appropriately in different sets. Therefore when a document to be printed is completely jumbled, we have to go for human sorting methods. This makes the process very slow and this kind of sorting is highly error prone. In order to overcome shortcomings of the prior art the present invention offers a scanning and rendering device such as an MFP device which sorts the pages based on a sorting key present on the sheets. The special features associated with the MFP devices are helpful in getting the printout of the fed document in an ordered manner even when the documents are inputted jumbled.
As is apparent from the foregoing description of the prior art, an automatic sorter scans the sorting key (page number or name) on each page, and then reorder the
pages by shuffling them in a loop and passing pages in the required order into another tray. This process is time consuming and may damage the sheets due to the number of passes required. Therefore the present invention proposes scanning each page into memory, sorting the pages in memory using the sorting key, and then printing the pages in order. Here the sorting procedure is performed in electronic memory, which is fast and efficient.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
It is therefore the main object of the invention to provide a method for scanning each page into memory, sorting the pages in memory using the sorting key, and then printing the pages in order.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a quick and robust method of sorting a bunch of unsorted pages without human intervention.
It is also an object of the present invention to facilitate the sorting using the existing electronic copier devices or multifunctional peripherals without much modification to the hardware.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention proposes a novel method for printing of unordered pages of any document in sequence with the help of an ordering key present on the papers whereby each page is scanned into memory, the pages are sorted in memory using the sorting key, and then the pages are printed in order. Therefore, the present invention provides a quick and robust method of sorting a bunch of unsorted pages without human intervention wherein the sorting is facilitated using the existing
electronic copier devices or multifunctional peripherals without much modification to the hardware.
Accordingly, the present invention comprises a method for printing unsorted pages in sequence according to a sorting key using an multifunction peripheral device, the method comprising the steps of:
i. receiving unsorted originals through an auto-document feeder;
ii. scanning the contents of the unsorted originals to a memory;
iii. detecting a sorting key associated with the originals from the scanned image; and
iv. sorting the pages based on the said key and printing them in order.
Accordingly, the present invention also explains a system for printing unsorted pages in sequence according to a sorting key comprising:
a. an auto-document feeder for receiving unsorted
b. memory to store scanned contents of the unsorted
c. a sorting key associated with the scanned image;
where the pages are sorted based on the said key and printed in order.
The invention also provides an MFP device, which performs the above method.
Other advantages and features of the invention will become more clearly apparent from the following description of the embodiments of the invention given as non-restrictive example only and represented in the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF ACCOMPANYING DRAWINGS
Figure 1 shows an MFP device according to the preferred embodiment of the invention.
Figure 2 represents the detailed block diagram representing the operation of the present invention.
Figure 3 shows a flowchart of the sorting method of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
A preferred embodiment of the present invention will now be explained with reference to the accompanying drawings. It should be understood however that the disclosed embodiment is merely exemplary of the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. The following description and drawings are not to be construed as limiting the invention and numerous specific details are described to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention, as the basis for the claims and as a basis for teaching one skilled in the art how to make and/or use the invention. However in certain instances, well-known or conventional details are not described in order not to unnecessarily obscure the present invention in detail.
Figure 1 depicts a multi functional peripheral (MFP) device according to the invention, which can scan, copy and print using the methods associated with that. The device more or less uses the existing hardware available in electronic copier machines or "multi functional peripherals", but has means for enabling the sorting operation performed by the present invention. The detailed block diagram of the operation of the invention is shown in figure 2.
The operation of the present invention is detailed below. According to the invention, the device electronically scans a bunch of unsorted pages and identifies within the scanned images a location where a sorting key such as page number is printed. The auto-document feeder device in scanners helps in scanning a bunch of pages
without human intervention. It then converts these image sections to text using "Optical Character Recognition" technology and the converted text will then be sorted into order, and the pages will be printed in that order to provide a sorted copy of the initial bunch of pages. The scanner with an auto feeder is a familiar apparatus which we make use in this invention. The auto feeder can be of different types. The details of one such feeder can be found in United States Patent 6,206,359.
The device scans the document either completely or partly to locate the keys that can be used for sorting. Refer to the flowchart in figure 3. The locations and the rectangular area within which the key is to be found are either pre-programmed or in-put by the user before scanning starts. The keys can be, but not limited to, numbers, alphabets, alpha-numeric strings etc. The default key type is numbers. But user can change the same. After OCR, the character string generated is searched for first occurrence of the expected type of key. The first occurrence is taken as the key for the particular page. The only limitation is that ordering should be defined for the keys, and the device or the supporting application (Ex. A PC application to which a networked device can sent the scanned data) should have the knowledge of methods to sort the given key. For example, if a bar code is used as the ordering key, the application should know how to read the (already scanned) bar code and convert it to a number.
The scanned pages are stored in the device during the sorting. Once the keys are sorted using the most appropriate algorithm (i.e., the different algorithms should be used for different type of keys such as numbers, alphabets etc.), the scanned pages are rearranged in the device memory according to the sorted keys. This data is then printed which gives the copies in the ordered format.
One main advantage of the invention is that the sorting mechanism can be programmed to sort based on any kind of sorting key viz. numbers, strings, bar codes, images, etc.
The same concept for the above invention can be incorporated in to several alternate embodiments. In one of the alternate embodiments, the device can request human intervention to identify the location on the page where the sorting key is present.
The method for printing unsorted pages in sequence according to a sorting key using an multifunction peripheral device involves receiving unsorted originals through an auto-document feeder. Then scanning the contents of the unsorted originals to a memory Is carried out. By detecting a sorting key associated with the originals from the scanned image the sorting of the pages are done and finally printing them in order.
The said sorting key can be a page number. The exact input regarding the location of sorting key is received from a user. The sorted list is obtained by sending a partial raw image to a server connected to the MFP.
The system for printing unsorted pages in sequence according to a sorting key involves an auto-document feeder for receiving unsorted originals. A memory is used to store scanned contents of the unsorted originals. The sorting key associated with the scanned image is used for sorted based on the said key and finally the pages are printed in order.
In yet another embodiment, the device can send the sorting key images to a server for sorting. The server will then reply with the index order in which the pages should be printed. This method is useful in a scenario where the device does not have sufficient processing capability to sort the keys on its own. It also provides the flexibility that the device firmware need not be modified every time a new sorting key is introduced. It is assumed that adding new sorting key capabilities to a computer server is easier than adding it to copier firmware.
In a further alternate embodiment, it is proposed that unsorted pages may be provided by an electronic device or network on which the copier is hosted, instead of in printed form.
It will also be obvious to those skilled in the art that other control methods and apparatuses can be derived from the combinations of the various methods and apparatuses of the present invention as taught by the description and the accompanying drawings and these shall also be considered within the scope of the present invention. Further, description of such combinations and variations is therefore omitted above. It should also be noted that the host for storing the applications include but not limited to a computer, printer or a multi function device.
Although the present invention has been fully described in connection with the preferred embodiments thereof with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be noted that various changes and modifications are possible and are apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications are to be understood as included within the scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims unless they depart there from. Although sorting keys are used to identify the priority of the documents and to sort them, it is to be understood that other methods can also be adopted for the same.
1. A method for printing unsorted pages in sequence according to a sorting key
using an multifunction peripheral device, the method comprising the steps of:
a) receiving unsorted originals through an auto-document feeder;
b) scanning the contents of the unsorted originals to a memory;
c) detecting a sorting key associated with the originals from the scanned image; and
d) sorting the pages based on the said key and printing them in order.
2. The method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the said sorting key is a page number.
3. The method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the input regarding the location of sorting key is received from a user.
4. The method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the sorted list is obtained by sending a partial raw image to a server connected to the MFP.
5. A system for printing unsorted pages in sequence according to a sorting key comprising:
a) an auto-document feeder for receiving unsorted originals;
b) memory to store scanned contents of the unsorted originals; and
c) a sorting key associated with the scanned image;
where the pages are sorted based on the said key and printed in order.
6. A method for printing unsorted pages in sequence according to a sorting key
substantially as herein above described and illustrated with reference to the
7. A system for printing unsorted pages in sequence according to a sorting key,
substantially as herein above described and illustrated with reference to the
|Indian Patent Application Number||1018/CHE/2004|
|PG Journal Number||13/2010|
|Date of Filing||01-Oct-2004|
|Name of Patentee||SAMSUNG INDIA SOFTWARE OPERATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED|
|Applicant Address||BAGMANE LAKEVIEW, BLOCK 'B', NO.66/1, BAGMANE TECH PARK, C V RAMAN NAGAR, BYRASANDRA, BANGALORE-560 093.|
|PCT International Classification Number||G03C5/08|
|PCT International Application Number||N/A|
|PCT International Filing date|