TWAIN is a communications protocol with an application programming interface (API) that provides an interface between computing devices and document imaging devices or scanners. It was originally released back in 1992, and has been updated as recently as 2013 with version 2.3. The objectives were as follows:
- To provide cross platform scanning support
- To maintain a no charge toolkit for scanning software developers
- To insure scanning hardware compatibility
- To insure ease of implementation
TWAIN provides support for high speed desktop scanners, scanning copiers and digital cameras, and supports a wide variety of operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and Linux. The working group is composed of manufacturers of both scanning hardware and scanning software, and includes: HP, Kodak, Fujitsu, Visioneer and Epson to name a few.