A very early ComputerEyes scan
The company's founder (Dave Pratt, an electronics engineer from Wellesley, MA) had written a financial program in BASIC for his Apple II computer. It logged, sorted, and categorized his home finances and printed his checks — did everything but sign them.

The original ComputerEyes prototype (click to enlarge)
Pondering the latter, he developed some circuitry and software (in a spare bedroom) that allowed him to bring an image from a video camera into the Apple II. It was crude and simple — took several seconds to complete a scan, and produced an image that was either black or white (no shades of gray or color) — but it worked! He wrote his signature on a piece of paper, pointed a video camera at it, scanned in the image with the gadget, came up with a picture of his signature that he incorporated unto his financial software, and started printing signed checks.

By putting the burden of the task of acquiring the image data on software rather than hardware, the parts cost of the gadget was surprisingly low.

The reason for ComputerEyes
Dave did a little math and decided that the product could be offered at a price point that that Apple II market would accept. So he quit his job at a company making digital signal processors, found a little office space, ordered parts for 100 units, and set up shop.

The ComputerEyes name was a gift from a pun-loving ex-co-worker (a play on "computerize", on the off chance that you didn't "get it"). While there were a few people who didn't "get it", it was mainly an excellent choice — a product that gave one's computer "eyes" and a clever little pun to boot. Over the years, it was to become a household word (well, at least in certain households).

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