By Andrew Liszewski
A couple of years ago I wrote about the Digitizing Line DL 3000 book scanner which is capable of scanning and digitizing about 3,000 pages an hour, or 50 pages a minute, for a mere $250,000. And it has the footprint of a 4-post king sized bed. On the other hand, Masatoshi Ishikawa, a professor at the University of Tokyo, has developed a high-speed scanner that can digitize a book as you flip through its pages, at a rate of about 200 pages a minute, and eventually even faster. At the moment the scanner takes up a good portion of a lab bench, but eventually the technology could be embedded in a smartphone.
The ‘secret’ behind the scanner is a 1280 by 1024 pixel sensor that runs at 500 frames per second. First it captures an image of the text and diagrams on a page, and a second pass captures a series of parallel laser lines which allows software to calculate and correct for 3D deformations on the page as it’s being flipped. Now since the system requires human assistance it’s not 100% perfect, pages might get missed during the flipping etc. but there is definitely some exciting potential here.