Not content with having them only print, copy, collate, and staple, Xerox is adding a new trick to its photocopiers that promises to give teachers more time with their students. Custom software will actually let a school's photocopier not only grade papers, but also keep tabs on which students are struggling in certain subjects.

Automated systems for grading bubble sheet exams have of course existed for years, but Xerox's approach will actually be able to distinguish hand-written responses. And not just mathematical equations where the answers are either right or wrong, but essay-type responses too, providing notes on spelling and grammar like a word processor would.

But the biggest benefit will be for students, as the photocopier will be able to provide detailed reports on how individuals are performing, and where they might need more help to keep their grades up. It's like tracking stats for athletes, but when commercially available sometime in late 2013 or early 2014, it will have the ultimate goal of getting kids into college based on grades, not a sports scholarship. [Xerox via Popular Science]