TWAIN, widely known unoffically as "Technology Without an Interesting Name." [ [ TWAIN Initiative - Question: What is TWAIN an acronym for?] ] is a free and open software protocol and applications programming interface (API) standard that regulates communication between software applications and imaging devices such as scanners and digital cameras.

The word TWAIN is from Rudyard Kipling's "The Ballad of East and West" — "...and never the twain shall meet..." — reflecting the difficulty at the time of connecting scanners and personal computers. It was up-cased to TWAIN to make it more distinctive.


The TWAIN group originally launched in 1992 by leading industry vendors who recognized a need for more communication between the image handling software and hardware. Today the TWAIN standard, including the specification, data source manager and sample code, are maintained by the TWAIN Working Group.

Vision statement

The TWAIN Working Group is a not-for-profit organization which represents the imaging industry. TWAIN's purpose is to provide and foster a universal public standard which links applications and image acquisition devices. The ongoing mission of the organization is to continue to enhance the standard to accommodate future technologies. The latest released version of the TWAIN standard is 1.9 (January 20, 2001) while 2.0 is going to be released soon.


Objectives of the TWAIN Working Group and standard include:
* Ensure image-handling software and hardware compatibility
* Keep the specification current with the state of practice software and hardware while maintaining backward compatibility
* Multiple platform support
* Maintain and distribute a no-charge developer's toolkit
* Ensure ease of implementation
* Encourage widespread adoption


Since the initial 1.0 release, TWAIN has been dramatically enhanced to fully support:
* Production, high-speed scanning
* ICC Color profiles
* Digital cameras
* Multiple operating system platforms

The TWAIN Working Group Board

Member companies include:
* Adobe Systems, Inc.
* AnyDoc Software, Inc.
* Eastman Kodak Company
* Fujitsu Computer Products of America
* JFL Peripheral Solutions, Inc.
* Ricoh Corporation
* Avision Inc.

The TWAIN Associate Members

Member companies include:
* Epson, Inc.
* Hewlett-Packard, Inc.
* Xerox, Inc.

TWAIN membership

TWAIN is a not-for-profit association of industry leaders who have gathered to create a standard that benefits the industry as a whole. If you would like information on joining the TWAIN Working Group, visit their website at the URL listed below.


External links

* [ TWAIN Working Group]
* [ TWAIN: Linking Applications and Images - A White Paper by Hewlett Packard]
* [ 9 Rules for Evaluating Web TWAIN Components - A White Paper by Dynamsoft]

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