10 Random Facts About OCR

by Jesse Spencer | September 6, 2019

10 Random Facts About Optical Character Recognition (OCR) You Never Knew you Needed to Know

1 The first commercial-grade OCR machine was installed in 1954 at Reader's Digest. It was used to integrate typewritten data into computers via punched cards. [1]

2 OCR-A was developed with American standards and OCR-B was developed because Europeans wanted more natural looking fonts. [2]

3 OCR-B took five years and a dozen engineers to develop and became the ISO world standard. [3]

4 Early OCR machines read one character per minute; today 10,000+. [4]

5 Hidden Markov Models is a better OCR algorithm than Naive Bayes because it doesn't have to estimate every possible combination of features. [5]

6 The largest OCR machine is the size of a football field, and 100 of them were purchased by the United States Postal Service at a cost of $1.3B - a decade ago. [6] Watch video below:

7 OCR has been used to interpret sheet music, it's called Optical Mark Recognition, and it doesn't really work. [7]

8 One of the world's first commercial OCR machines was built in an attic, and could read serial numbers on travelers' checks at a rate of 100 checks per minute. [8]

9 The height of public interest in OCR was 1986. It's been on a slow decline since. [9]

10 Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc was one of the very first OCR programs. After 50 mergers and acquisitions, it's now owned by Kofax Inc., who's owned by Thoma Bravo. [10]

10.5 The global OCR market size is expected to reach $13.38 billion by 2025. [10.5] 


References
[1] https://books.google.com/books?id=-ZXJDQAAQBAJ&lpg=PA13&pg=PA13#v=onepage&q&f=false
[2] https://books.google.com/books?id=-ZXJDQAAQBAJ&lpg=PA13&pg=PA13#v=onepage&q&f=false
[3] https://www.linotype.com/793-12663/the-big-ocr-b-project.html
[4] https://www.nist.gov/pao/nist-100-foundations-progress/postwar-years-highlights
[5] http://www.davidsbatista.net/blog/2017/11/11/HHM_and_Naive_Bayes/
[6] https://www.foliomag.com/usps-fss-scrutiny/
[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_music_recognition#Commercial_software
[8] https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9771704/david_h_shepard_ocr_machine/
[9] https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=Optical+character+recognition&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2COptical%20character%20recognition%3B%2Cc0#t1%3B%2COptical%20character%20recognition%3B%2Cc1
[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuance_Communications
[10.5] https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/optical-character-recognition-market

 

 



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