|•||A possibility to store machine readable information on paper (so that the processing device can learn what the paper artifact is about, where to look for markings, and to identify the submitting user).|
|•||Software components for printing forms that can be automatically processed later, and components for processing scanned images and interpreting the users markings.|
Additionally, the setup for producing and processing the forms should be usable by casual users without any assistance.
For storing binary information on paper, we are using Xerox DataGlyphsTM. Compared to Barcodes, the most common solution for storing machine readable information on paper, glyphs have some advantages: higher density, higher fault tolerance, can have any form, can be hidden in images [ Johnson et.al. 1993].
Based on DataGlyphs and on the Xerox PaperWare® toolkit [Xerox 1998] we have built a software layer that offers services for printing forms and for processing scanned images. For user feedback, single and grouped checkboxes and rectangular scan areas (that can be further processed by other tools) are supported.
Application build upon the service layer can be loaded as a kind of servlets into so-called multifunctional devices. MFDs are programmable copier-like devices with network connection. Due to their similarity to copiers users can easily deal with them. With these devices, both the individual processing of forms and the batch processing of collected forms is easily possible.
With the possibility to link the real world and the electronic space through paper, dynamic information can become a real support to local communities, both enhancing the effectiveness of current paper based media, from newspapers and magazines to wall postings and restaurants' tickets, and opening the way to a new set of paper artifacts that can exploit completely the potentiality of this link.
In fact, paper-based interfaces work in two ways: as tools to manage, exchange, organize information and to trigger actions, and as a medium to exchange experience about what people see and do when they are not together, or to comment on experiences they had, or to suggest interesting things.