RESEARCH & DISCOVERY: The Voracious Eye

RESEARCH & DISCOVERY

The newest wonder of the electronic age is a machine that can read and digest and retain what it reads—even if it takes no special pleasure in curling up with a good book. Known in industry as the optical scanner, it operates roughly on the principle of the human eye, has already earned the obvious Orwellian nickname:

"The Eye." With the help of light beams, video and mirrors, the optical scanner moves rapidly across letters, numbers and handwriting, breaks them down into "machine language," or electrical impulses, and passes them along for an analysis to an electronic computer (see...

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