You’ve probably seen quite a few flatbed scanner bars in your lifetime, but the $400 Lexmark Genesis printer doesn’t have one of those — it’s got a 10 megapixel digital camera with a fish-eye lens that produces nigh-instant images. 750 milliseconds after you close its front-facing scan bay, the CMOS sensor generates a preview on the 4.3-inch color touchscreen, and 2.2 seconds after that, it’s got a full 300 dpi image saved on your USB-connected computer or winging its way across 802.11n WiFi. The company’s calling the system FlashScan, and the raw speed was definitely impressive when we saw it in San Francisco this week, even though other parts of the print system left something to be desired.
The printer uses special algorithms to translate the fish-eye image back into a flat sheet and reproduces text quite well, but the twin RGB flashes it fires to reproduce color didn’t always do an accurate job, and we were disappointed to find a number of features (including some obvious oversights like image rotation for copies) weren’t accessible via the touchscreen. It does have a number of neat web apps for completely untethered use, however, including the ability to scan right to Evernote and Photobucket and Box.net, and Lexmark told us it’s working with a number major photo hosting services, Twitter and Facebook to let Genesis users directly upload. See it in action on video after the break, along with the full press release.