Short for optical mark reading or optical mark recognition, OMR is gathering information from human beings by recognizing marks on a document. OMR is accomplished using a hardware device (scanner) that detects a reflection or limited light transmittance on or through a piece of paper.
OMR allows the processing of hundreds or thousands of documents per hour. For example, students may recall taking tests or surveys where they filled in bubbles on paper (shown right) with a pencil. Once the form had been completed, a teacher or teacher's assistant would feed the cards into a system that grades or gathers information from them.
Why is OMR an input device?
The OMR card by itself is not considered an input device. However, the OMR reader that reads the card is sending data (input) to the computer, which is why it is considered an input device.
IBM introduced the IBM Type 805 International Test Scoring Machine in 1937, giving rise to the familiar "fill-in-the-bubble" test score sheets. The test-scorer, primarily designed by Reynold Johnson, uses the conductivity of pencil marks to sense correct and incorrect answers.