Standards are great, especially if a device you want to use supports it. TWAIN is a standard (which supposedly stands for Technology Without An Interesting Name) that allows you to control and interact with devices such as image scanners and digital cameras. Apple's own Image Capture, as well as programs like GraphicConverter and Photoshop, can acquire images from devices that come with a TWAIN driver. Unfortunately, not all devices do. Fortunately, the SANE team can add TWAIN support for many SCSI and USB devices.
To start, you'll need to install libusb, which allows user level application to interact with USB devices, and the SANE backends. You are then ready to install the TWAIN SANE Interface, and for Mac users, you should also install the SANE Preference Pane. Once you've done this, you can use the Preference Pane to fine your specific model of scanner, and then inspect the configuration file to add support for your specific modem of scanner. To see if SANE can find your scanner, you can issue the "sane-find-scanner" command, or the "scanimage -L" command. If neither of these find your scanner, you may need to restart with the scanner powered on.
GraphicConverter Now Sees This Device, Thanks to TWAIN SANE
As you can see from the screen shot, the TWAIN SANE interface offers many options to control scanning. For this device, the Standard settings let you choose the paper source, the scan mode (color or grayscale) and the horizontal and vertical resolution in dpi. The Geometry settings sets what part of the page you'd like to scan. The Enhancement section can include options like brightness, contrast and emphasis. Depending on your driver and device, you may get more or less options.
So open up your old unsupported device to a new world of application support, and give TWAIN SANE a try today! Have any other gadgets that help you get more out of your hardware? Send an email to John and he'll check it out.