Portable document scanners have existed for years, and you can even get models as small as a business card. The catch, however, is that you need to physically move the scanner across a document yourself, which often leads to mixed results. And that's why Doxie's new Flip is so wonderful; it's basically a tiny flatbed scanner (about the size of a tablet) that doesn't require you to move it at all.
Powered by a rechargeable battery that's good for about 200 seven-second scans at 300 DPI, the Flip can actually be boosted to scanning resolutions of up to 600 DPI if you've got the time. Its compact scanning bed can accommodate images or documents up to four by six inches in size, but stitching software is enroute that promises to make it easier to process larger scanning jobs that require multiple passes.
But where the Flip really shines is its see-through glass scanning bed which allows you to remove the hinged cover and place it directly onto larger items, or documents that can't be easily moved. So for example, if you managed to sneak into the Louvre at night and wanted a truly great souvenir of the Mona Lisa, you could hold the Flip up against the painting and create a high-res digital copy for yourself.
At $US150 the Flip is definitely more expensive than other handheld scanners, and we'd like to see future versions wirelessly send scans to a smartphone or tablet, instead of just saving all the images to an SD card. But even in its current form the Flip is a vast improvement for scanning on the go, and seems like a definite must-have addition to any road warrior's kit. [Doxie via The Gadgeteer]