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Japanese Researchers Develop World's Fastest Book Scanner 138

Posted by timothy
from the don't-they-have-any-boffins? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "IEEE Spectrum reports that Tokyo University researchers have developed a superfast book scanner that uses lasers and a high-speed camera to achieve a capture rate of 200 pages per minute. You just quickly flip the book pages in front of the system and it digitizes the pages, building a 3D model of each and reconstructing it as a normal flat page. The prototype is large and bulky, but if this thing could be made smaller, one day we could scan a book or magazine in seconds using a smartphone." The article mentions Google's similar dewarping system; the difference here is speed.
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Japanese Researchers Develop World's Fastest Book Scanner

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  • High Speed Camera (Score:3, Informative)

    by bhima (46039) * <Bhima...Pandava@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @03:59PM (#31514190) Journal

    The project uses a high speed camera... so if a camera from a handy is going to be used, they are going to have to get a lot better.

  • Faster method (Score:3, Informative)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @04:01PM (#31514216)

    Faster method:

    Cut the spine of the book off with a bandsaw with a metal cutting blade (finer pitch teeth than typical wood blade)

    Run thru sheet feeder scanner twice, once for each side.

    A bit of scripting hackery later, one fresh PDF! Or .djvu, or whatever.

    For those of us brought up that its sacrilegious to damage a book, realize that many books were printed on acid paper; yellowing, decaying, brittle, and will soon be dust regardless of what you do, so may as well preserve the content and properly recycle the pulp.

    The bandsaw trick also works on magazines, you know, the things we used to read before websites.

  • by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @04:04PM (#31514268)
    This guy has produced some really fascinating work, I strongly recommend checking out some more of it if you have some free time. The high-speed robot hand [youtube.com] he developed literally made my jaw drop.
  • Re:Faster method (Score:5, Informative)

    by sribe (304414) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @04:12PM (#31514378)

    How the heck did this get scored insightful??? Seriously?

    First, there are guillotine-style shears for cutting bindings off books that do no damage at all to the pages. Second, nearly all the high-speed sheet-fed document scanners out there are duplex scanners. In the case where the owner is willing to cut the binding off the book, there are well-known equipment and well-established techniques that do not involve rubes with bandsaws and script hackery.

  • Bender did it first (Score:3, Informative)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <[slashdot3] [at] [justconnected.net]> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @04:39PM (#31514854)

    There was an episode of Futurama where Bender is captaining the ship, and Fry asks him if he's read the manual. Bender flips through the several-hundred-page book in about a half second and proclaims "Done", then proceeds to quote it.

    It always seemed like a plausible thing to me. Isn't that what they're doing here?

  • Re:High Speed Camera (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@s[ ]hdot.org ['las' in gap]> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:08PM (#31515340)

    By the way: “handy” is not used as a term for a mobile phone aka cell phone in the English language.
    I know it’s used in Germany, and people from there are prone to mess it up, because it’s a foreign English word in the German language.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:49PM (#31515912)

    There are many (most?) books published before computer aided writing and typesetting became the norm. Even for many books that were published electronically, the electronic files used to create the books may not exist or may be unreadable due to poor archiving, publisher is out of business, hard to parse proprietary file formats, archaic hardware (cobbling together a punched tape reader from the 70's might be harder and more trouble-prone than just scanning the book), etc.

    And then there are the non-technical issues like when publishers don't really want to cooperate (i.e. Google Books).

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @06:13PM (#31516244)

    There were around 400,000 books published in the 70's alone reference [swivel.com]. Most of these books are not rare, nor would they be fragile enough to be significantly damaged by a high speed scanner. And I'd be willing to bet that most of them do not have electronic publishing files.

    Some high speed scanners (like Google's) are designed to cause no more harm to a book than a person reading it.

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