A new super-fast book-scanning technology could make publishers cringe even more than when they heard about Google Book Search. A University of Tokyo researcher has developed a “book flipping scanning” method that does exactly what it sounds like, digitizing 200 pages per minute, according to IEEE Spectrum. The Japanese researchers hope to enable a digital library for Japanese manga comics.
The scanner’s camera runs at 500 frames per second, and captures rapidly flipping book pages in two modes. First, a regular line shines on the page to capture text and images. The second mode then manages neat the trick of reconstructing the curved, distorted pages in their original form. A laser device projects lines onto each page that the system can use to recreate the 3-D page model and correct the deformed lines.
Google’s own proprietary book-scanning technology seems to use some sort of infrared camera to capture the 3-D shape of book pages, but the book lies flat and the page-turning mechanism is unclear. Other book scanners boast of capturing about 50 pages per minute, which is four times slower than the new method.
Masatoshi Ishikawa — the University of Tokyo researcher behind the book-scanning marvel — previously developed the fastest robot hands in the East, so he’s probably not too worried about tiring out human hands by flipping book pages.
Miniaturized versions of this technology could eventually find their way into our smartphones for completely legal digitizing delights. Or it might combine with the robot hands to bring Short Circuit’s Johnny 5 to life.
[via IEEE Spectrum]