Born Jan 8 1910 Sep 11 1999
Optical Character Recognition
Patent Number(s) 2,933,246
Jacob Rabinow patented over 200 inventions, including his optical character
reading machine. These optical scanners recognized printed letters and
numbers, automating work previously done by hand. Business, industry,
and the U.S. Postal Service adopted Rabinow's machines. Other inventions
ranged from self-focusing cameras and headlight dimmers to a pressurized
container to keep tennis balls bouncy.
Rabinow's advanced techniques allowed machines to examine all kinds
of text, regardless of font, and make a series of judgments that determined
best matches with standard characters. Over the years he crafted a series
of improvements that made the process more reliable, eventually incorporating
dictionaries into computer memories so the machines could determine
the identity of a smudged or messy character.
Rabinow, born in the Ukraine, immigrated to Brooklyn, New York in 1920.
After studying electrical engineering at the City University of New
York, he began his long career at the National Bureau of Standards where
he developed OCR.