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Last post Author Topic: Mathematics symbols OCR  (Read 20659 times)

Armando

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Mathematics symbols OCR
« on: September 14, 2008, 01:54:14 PM »
I wonder if anyone knows of software capable of recognizing mathematical symbols... Properly.
The free OCR soft that came with my scanner a while ago certainly can't...  Mostly garbage :)

This would probably be one costly app (judging by the price of top notch OCR software).

But I'm wondering if it exists, and if it performs well.  :tellme:

Armando

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2008, 02:24:06 PM »
Thinking of it, could be that the best of both world would be to 1- scan math stuff with acrobat, 2- and then let acrobat do the ocr without destroying the original layout. Of course that would take a significant amount of disk space. And it would also mean... buy Acrobat.  :-[

Dormouse

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2008, 02:26:17 PM »
I assume you know about InftyReader; If you  don't, you really don't want to know about the price.

Eóin

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2008, 02:53:23 PM »
I'm just toying here so don't take it too serious but to what extent do you want the OCR to 'understand' the math? I mean do you want (A) a program which can phrase the symbols and together with their positions it could reproduce the equation in pdf or postscript say? Or (B) are you interested in a program which could phrase the scanned image into TeX or MathML?

I only ask as the first sounds feasible though I don't know of any such applications myself. The second however would be really cool, but I can barely begin to imagine how difficult it might be.

Ah Dormouse posted while I was typing, that's a very impressive program :)

Darwin

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2008, 02:54:54 PM »
about InftyReader; If you  don't, you really don't want to know about the price.

?@#$%!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Grorgy

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2008, 05:13:47 PM »
Well, i guess the price depends on how important it is to you, it is cheaper than photoshop, just lol

Armando

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2008, 05:36:34 PM »
about InftyReader; If you  don't, you really don't want to know about the price.

?@#$%!

C'mon Darwin... The license says : "you can use InftyReader on two computers"...  eheh.

Thanks for the input Dormouse and Eóin.

It's actually not that important... I just like the idea of scanning stuff instead of carrying big books around, sheets, etc. That's what I usually do with other types of texts/documents -- and I realize it's not as easy with scientific/technical stuff.

So I'm looking at the "available ( :o ) solutions.


--------

---> slightly tangential...

I'm also contemplating buying a wacom tablet -- bamboo, maybe. Doesn't seem tooooo expensive -- to annotate scanned equations  (jpg, pdf format or whatever will be available) etc.

Because... well... writing maths equations with a computer (e.g. : latex style...) doesn't seem like the quickest and most intuitive option (sure, there might be some collateral prestige to be gained, but....).

There are other software like MathType and  and Scientific Notebook which seem interesting. Will have to try them and see if they are actually usable in a class-notetaking environment

« Last Edit: September 14, 2008, 05:38:23 PM by Armando »

Darwin

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2008, 11:07:05 PM »
Yeah, I was "wowed" by the generosity of allowing the end-user to run the software on two computers as well. Gee, the app would be a bargain at twice the price  :o

I have a Wacom Bamboo and love it. I got the one with the mouse and am very impressed with it. Hadn't thought of using it for annotations, but now that you mention - fabulous, I may give it a try  :Thmbsup:
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Armando

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2008, 12:07:24 AM »
Hadn't thought of using it for annotations, but now that you mention - fabulous, I may give it a try  :Thmbsup:

You think that would work? I was going to ask you. I might try to get an older version of acrobat or something. And was wondering if I could annotate PDFs.

I think I've also heard Word 2007 was tablet friendly. Word 2003 might be tablet friendly as well, bu haven't tried.

That would be very cool : keep my math manual in pdf or doc format and insert/handwrite annotations on the pages (ie : solve the equations etc. directly on the pages, without the need for paper...)

Heck, I could even enter my equations in my MS word notes with my tablet, instead of using mathtype or something like that. Don't know how well that would work though.

Any experiences worth sharing?  :)

Darwin

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2008, 07:09:31 AM »
Any experiences worth sharing?

None, I'm afraid! I'll try to mess around with this today and get back to you (just tried with Acrobat Reader 9, and there's no annotate feature... I *think* it was there in version 8? PDF Pro 5 is intalled on a different machine - I'll get back to you).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Eóin

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2008, 08:46:56 AM »
Having gone through a math course and now working on a postgraduate in that field my experience has been that you cannot beat handwritten in terms of the speed and clarity at which you can record it as it's being say written up on a blackboard.

If typing up notes in your own time Word is good, LaTeX is fantastic but almost certainly overkill. Something like SciWriter would be my first recommendation though. But you can't use these programs at speed, drawing the equations is more like putting together a jigsaw than freehand drawing.

My guess is an OCR app which only OCRs what it understands and stores the rest as inline images might be the overall fastest cheap solution to generate digital copies, but also the lowest in quality.

Armando

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2008, 09:56:37 AM »
Thanks Eóin and Darwin.

Eóin : from the screenshots, sciWriter looks like MathType and other similar software. Might give it a try but I'm afraid your "putting together a jigsaw" comparison is probably pretty accurate.

So for now, it seems that the OCR app solution "which only OCRs what it understands" is probably, effectively, the best option.

As for annotating with a tablet -- should pretty close to hand writing --, well... Darwin might be able to tell us at the end of the day. ;)

Armando

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2008, 12:32:58 AM »
So... Darwin : any luck with annotations using your fabulous wacom tablet?   :)

Darwin

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2008, 10:26:16 AM »
So... Darwin : any luck with annotations using your fabulous wacom tablet?   :)

Sorry - haven't gotten onto my other notebook yet  :-[. I did try this with Adobe Acrobat Reader 9 and my XP machine (sans any PDF software) but either my memory is shot or Adobe has removed Annotation support from the Reader in version 9...

I'll try to get to this today
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2008, 11:21:33 AM »
OK - here goes: Adobe Acrobat Reader 9 DOES support comments, but only when document rights are enabled. Otherwise, the toolbar is hidden. I tried this with the tablet and the pen and no dice. I may not have tried hard enough, mind you...

Interesting sidenote - AAR 9 supports comments on my Vista machine but not on my XP Pro machine?! I suspect it's because I have Nuance's PDF Converter Professional 5 installed under Vista but not under XP...

Speaking of PDF Converter Professional 5, I had no trouble inserting comments BUT I coudn't insert them with the Pen, it was strictly a keyboard only operation...

I'd be interested in any other perspectives on this.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Grorgy

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2008, 01:56:24 PM »
I tried a program called PDF Annotator at one point, can't remember much about it except that it seemed pretty good if you wanted to use a tablet anyway might be worth a look, $69.95 US http://ograhl.com/en/pdfannotator/
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 02:02:01 PM by Grorgy »

Darwin

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2008, 01:58:34 PM »
Nice find, George  :Thmbsup:

Quote
Type comments on top of PDF content, paste in images, use a stylus or drawing tablet if you have them.

My emphasis...

The price may not even be that steep if one were to use it a lot...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Armando

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2008, 10:28:41 PM »
Thanks for your research, Darwin. And, yes, PDF Annotator looks pretty sweet. Wonder how compatible the annotations are with other pdf readers. Will have to check that out.

I saw other (slightly different...) options like :

- PDF-XChange Viewer (pretty well known app here at DC... not sure if the free version will do the nice tablet things though -- haven't got the time to fully check that. Depending on the tablet level of compatibility, this could be the real deal.

- Bluebeam Revu Standard (seems VERY nice -- but some users here noted the bad quality of the fonts rendering. Don't know if that's still true )

Darwin

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2008, 11:20:24 PM »
Don't forget, Foxit PDF Reader *used* to allow you to annotate pdfs as well... might be worth a look too!

I'll look into whether this works with Word 2007 as well... my gut tells me that it will on Vista but I'm not sure about on XP. Vista'll have to wait for the morning, though... OK XP doesn't support it using native drivers and the Wacom driver. I do know that Vista recognised the tablet and installed handwriting recognition software when I installed the Bamboo. I recently disabled the handwriting application from autostarting with Vista and I can't find it  :o I suspect that firing this up will allow handwriting in Word 2007 Comments and possibly in PDF Converter Professional 5 as well. I'll check it out in the morning.

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Armando

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2008, 02:09:54 PM »
[very off-topic]on Wednesday, as I was teaching, a child jumped on my palm and broke it.  :'(
What was it doing on the floor? Good question. I was actually sitting beside it (we were all sitting in a circle), stood up for exactly 5s to pick my whistle (needed it for the workshop). Needless to say, when I heard "scrunch", it was to late for any foreclosing whistling.

So yesterday, alone, crying on the sidewalk... [/very off-topic]

[a bit less off-topic]...I went to the store and bought... a wacom tablet. Human psyche is -- of  course -- all about logic.
Anyhow. The tablet is nice and all... Not that easy at first (find it pretty hard to be precise when I'm hovering at 0.5cm of the surface and then right click without moving the pen!), but I'm slowly getting used to it.
[/a bit less off-topic]


[kindoff on topic]I think it's primary functions will be : annotating and drawing/writing  (math equations, of course, and other stuff) . And that's it. I use the keyboard to much to use it as a mouse, and I prefer the touch pad for that function as it's just 0.5 inch from the keyboard.
[/kindoff on topic]

[going slightly off topic again]Anyhow... - PDF-XChange Viewer is quite nice and, thanks Darwin, I forgot that foxit viewer had pretty much the same features. Don't know which one is the best. Will test.

In the mean time, I found that pretty cheap app, and working very well... : Meanders' Annotator for Microsoft Office (v1.62). Allows one to draw easily inside any office app : excel spread sheets, Word documents, etc. Could be handy. There might be others, even more powerful and working system wide (do they exist?) but I have a math class at 6, so need to go solve some nasty equations now... without my palm, but with a potentially convenient Wacom Bamboo tablet.  :D

inkinuse 2008 09 19.jpg

[/going slightly off topic again]
« Last Edit: September 19, 2008, 02:12:45 PM by Armando »

jgpaiva

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2008, 03:15:52 PM »
 ;D ;D
Armando: Since you're in pain, I won't point out the fact that your post is entirely composed of off-topic matters :P

Just kidding, I really like to read about tablets (as I'd like to have one myself), and I really hope you get better!

cranioscopical

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2008, 06:50:53 PM »
on Wednesday, as I was teaching, a child jumped on my palm and broke it

Gee, you must have long arms!

Sorry to hear about your mishaps. You seem to be having fun with the tablet, at least.


Armando

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2008, 09:30:54 AM »
eheh, thanks guys
The tablet is going well. Haven't ordered a new palm yet. Will see if I can work without one for a little while.

Regarding Maths : Eóin is right, it's difficult to be beat paper and a pencil -- in terms of spead, of course.  :(


Grorgy

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2008, 09:42:46 AM »
i've always found maths much easier and quicker to do when i can get someone else to do it  ;)

Armando

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Re: Mathematics symbols OCR
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2008, 10:23:19 AM »
There's that...