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Prototype gadget can scan and identify fonts on demand

Spector is only a design concept for now, but font geeks are already giddy about this typeface tool.

Typeface nerds are a different kind of geek, the kind that will spend hours researching to find the right font choice to fit a particular design. But what if there was a gadget that could scan any printed text and immediately identify the name of the font and the exact shade of color it as it appears?

That's the concept behind Spector, a prototype tool for digital font collection developed by Fiona O'Leary for her final graduation project at the Royal College of Art in London.

Spector: A Tool for Digital Collecting

Fiona O'Leary

Here's how it works: when you put the Spector on a printed page and click the button, it takes a quick picture of the font beneath it and scans the image against a database of known fonts.

After a positive identification is made with a typeface, Spector uses a plugin to send the font to any design program you choose, whether it's InDesign, Pages, or others.

According to the video demonstration, you can even set the gadget to change all your digital project fonts to the new design, and even view information about the font like size, kerning, leading, and where to buy it if it's a third party design.

Unfortunately Spector is still very much in development right now, with no long-term plans to make it happen in the real world.

Designers and font geeks, let us know how much you would pay for a product like this in the comments below.