Announcing the ION Scanner, Magic Card Image Recognition

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Dear QS Subscribers,

For the past six months, we've been working on a secret project. It is a scanner for Magic cards. Internally, we named this "Project ION", and today, we're proud to announce that we're bringing ION fully into the public eye for the first time.

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen previews and inklings of this project; we've posted a few videos showing off our technology.  These videos have generated a tremendous amount of interest and a number of follow-up inquiries.

If you haven't seen the videos, you'll want to check those out here:
ION Card Scanner Demo

Augmented Reality with ION

Today I'm going to formally introduce the ION scanner and attempt to answer some common questions about it.

Here's the fun part:  the core version of this tool will be made available to QS Insider subscribers as part of their existing subscription package!  We know that we could probably sell this as a standalone app, but after much deliberation we decided that simply including it in the existing QS subscription package was the right thing to do.  This will be a powerful extension of the Trader Tools software, finally bridging the gap between the physical Magic cards you own and your digital inventory.

We aim to have ION Core available for QS Subscribers to download within one week; we're running some final checks on the software to be sure it's ready for prime-time.  You'll get an email when the download is live.

So, what is the ION scanner?   Quite simply, it's software that lets computers identify Magic cards with a camera.  Under proper lighting conditions, it can identify a Magic card in about a tenth of a second.  It's -really- fast.  In speed tests, we've seen people achieve a rate of 1000 cards scanned per hour or more.  To scan in a sealed deck pool or your Standard deck would only take a minute or two.  

It can use almost any USB camera, so if you happen to have one lying around your house, it'll probably work.  We've also located an awesome tabletop document camera that works extremely well with ION, which we'll show you when we release the software.  Right now, our "version 1" only runs on Windows, but we have plans to expand to other platforms as the technology matures.  My apologies to fellow Apple users!

And it's accurate.  I've scanned tens of thousands of cards with ION, and I can count on one hand the number of times it's made a mistake (usually because the lighting in the room was horrible).

It's also very good at identifying different editions; it can tell the difference between a white-border and black-border card.  If it's not sure, it'll prompt you with the potential choices in the form of selectable Edition symbols. It scans right through sleeves, which Doug was grateful for, given that his collection lives in Perfect-Fits.

Of course, it wouldn't be a QS product if it wasn't also jammed full of price data.  As you scan cards, you'll see the same price data as you'd see in Trader Tools, and you'll have the option to disable any merchants you're not interested in using.

When you've scanned your cards with ION, a single button click will push the list into Trader Tools.  From there, you can do whatever you'd like with the list, just as if you'd typed them in.

Whether you're an individual or business, you'll have access to the core version of this software for as long as your QS account is active.  However, If you're a business, retailer, online seller, or a power-trader, we'll be offering a more advanced version of ION that's purpose-built for businesses.

Whether you use ION Core or ION Pro, we think you'll be blown away by how fast, accurate and efficient our software is.  We're delighted that we can bring the core tech to our Insiders at absolutely no extra cost, and we're really excited to see what happens when local game stores start deploying ION Pro.

I am not prone to exaggeration, but I strongly feel that this technology is going to change the face of Magic: The Gathering forever.   It's going to be great to see how our Insiders use the ION scanner, and we're looking forward to the feedback of our first release candidate.

You may have seen other scanners or apps on the market. We aren't interested in copying them; we want to exceed them. This is light-years ahead of what's around.

Thank you for being loyal subscribers.  We don't sell cards, run advertisements, or make money on affiliate product sales.  We only thrive when we provide the best information & technology to our customers, and we will continue tirelessly improving our products, investing in our site, attending Pro Tours and coming up with cutting edge new tech.  We couldn't have gotten this far without our subscribers.

Thank you for your loyalty,

--Kelly Reid

Kelly Reid

Founder & Product Manager

View More By Kelly Reid

Posted in Feature, Free, ION

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32 thoughts on “Announcing the ION Scanner, Magic Card Image Recognition

  1. This will be a great time saver in organizing massive collections or when somebody trades a whole collection in, very promising sign me up Kelly, I have a lot of cards to scan, QS is worth it!

  2. Is this something that we can try a demo of before purchasing the subscription? Say, a version that doesn’t save to a list, just scans the cards to show what it can do?

  3. Hey Kelly, this is great, do you think it can be expanded to other card games such as Pokemon, Yugioh & Vanguard?

    Thanks 🙂

    – Ben

  4. Can it detect multiple magic cards in the same image/video? If so, it might be fun to make a tabletop app where your camera id’s your physical cards and presents them digitally to your opponent.

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