TMSSequoia Awarded Patent on Digital Mark Recognition Technology

TMSSequoia the Imaging Solutions Company, has been issued a U.S. Patent for its "Method of Optical Mark Recognition"  known as Digital Mark Recognition or DMR technology.  DMR technology has been licensed to VSC Technologies, LLC and is currently being integrated into a test scoring system called the Virtual Scoring Center or VSC system.   The VSC system provides the ability to score student tests that include both fill-in-the-bubble and essay and other show-your-work answers using imaging.  TMSSequoia has a 50% ownership interest in VSC Technologies, LLC.

"DMR recognition is the enabling technology that allows the Virtual Scoring Center system to process both fill-in-the-bubble and essay or other show-your-work answers using a single image of a test form.  This unique capability can improve scoring processes by automating data correction and reducing the need to manage significant amounts of paper while scoring, making the process faster and more efficient," said Debbie Mosier, president of TMSSequoia. "In addition, we believe DMR technology provides substantial benefits over current Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) systems because it provides increased flexibility in forms design, printing and processing. While the first implementation of DMR recognition is focused on processing K-12 tests, the technology has application to other markets, Mosier continued.  The granting of this patent validates TMSSequoias technology leadership in the imaging arena, reflects our history of innovation and protects our intellectual property."

DMR Advantages

Accuracy and flexibility are key considerations in selecting technology for capturing information from forms.  Historically in the test scoring market, OMR scanners have been the primary data collection device.  These OMR scanners require a form to be precisely aligned in the scanning device, and they may or may not provide an image of the form.  Software-based DMR technology provides a viable alternative to hardware based OMR scanners, with a number of advantages designed to speed the scoring cycle, reduce the costs of printing and optimize error correction.

        OMR scanners require expensive precision printed and rigidly designed forms to achieve a high degree of scoring accuracy.  Systems built on DMR alignment technology can achieve the same level of accuracy using traditionally printed forms without timing marks or rigid specifications about the shape or size of the area to be filled in. 

        OMR based systems require use of specific scanning equipment. Because DMR technology is totally software-based, it can be used in conjunction with any image scanner that can produce a 200 dpi/ 8 bit grayscale image. 

        For OMR scanners not equipped to produce an image, resolving exceptions requires extensive paper handling.   DMR systems support image-based exception handling, significantly improving productivity.   

DMR recognition also has advantages over software mark sense technologies because it uses a grayscale image which improves accuracy.  In addition to test scoring, industries that process surveys, applications or any other printed form where it is important to accurately read marks could benefit from DMR technology.

About the Patent

TMSSequoia's U.S. patent (#6741738) describes TMSSequoia's unique method of determining when a particular hand-marked selection has been made on, for example, a standardized test form. The patent has 37 claims covering various methods for accurate alignment of imaged forms as well as methods for reading and evaluating user responses such as fill-in-the-bubble marks.

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