Abstract: A light source in an optical character recognition system is automatically controlled to operate at a plurality of light intensities. A relatively high light intensity is used to illuminate an object bearing indicia to be read. A relatively low light intensity is used at all other times. A plurality of detectors sense reflected or ambient light and produce output signals indicative of the intensity of the reflected or ambient light. First and second signals are generated to indicate whether the detector output is greater than or less than a predetermined threshold. The number of first and second signals generated in response to the outputs of the detectors are summed separately. If the number of first signals equals or exceeds a first predetermined number, the object is illuminated at a high light intensity.
Abstract: Apparatus for recognizing alpha-numeric indicia that are either printed or embossed such as are common to credit cards and other identification means for use in a data processing system. The optical reading apparatus scans a surface to be read using a read head that conducts light to and from the surface using light conducting rods. Photosensors at the emitting ends of light conducting rods detect changes in the level of light reflected from the surface. For recognizing indicia, the level of light is made to be directly related to particular portions of the alpha-numeric indicia being read. The entrance ends of the light conducting rods are strategically placed so that logic circuitry connected to the photosensors can convert the detected signal into machine language.