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Japanese Researchers Develop World's Fastest Book Scanner

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the don't-they-have-any-boffins? dept.

Books 138

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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Did someone say lasers? (3, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514068)

Does it come with a shark-mount?

Re:Did someone say lasers? (3, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514136)

That's an add-on, Sir. But if you act today and bump up to the "Premium" model, it comes WITH the shark-mount. Buy our "Ultimate" model, and it even comes with the frikkin' sharks!

Re:Did someone say lasers? (4, Funny)

kandela (835710) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514286)

Forget the shark-mount. I have to turn my own pages!?

Oh well, I guess I'll just stick to buying books that are advertised as page turners.

Re:Did someone say lasers? (3, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514554)

Does it come with a shark-mount?

Warning: Do not look at shark with remaining eye.

Re:Did someone say lasers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31516370)

Hi I are Japan. I are readin my books with lazors, ROR!

Re:Did someone say lasers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31516756)

no, but it's so fast it goes mudamudamudamudamudamudamudamudamudamuda *BOOM* ZA WARUDO!

why make it smaller? (2, Insightful)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514076)

we just need a few at libraries to digitize everything for everyone... no need to make it any smaller.

Re:why make it smaller? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514542)

Good luck with that one. The writers unions will be all over that.

Re:why make it smaller? (1, Insightful)

LtGordon (1421725) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514694)

Good luck with that one. The copyright owners will be all over that.

Fixed that for you.

Re:why make it smaller? (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516220)

you don't think the copyright owners would be all over a smaller solution that would allow someone to go through a newstand and copy every current issue of every magazine? libraries are usually at least an issue behind, and don't stock every magazine available at newstands.... well... last time i was in a library that's how it worked... i don't find much use for them anymore.

a service like the one i described could give libraries new life and purpose.

Yay for chinks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31514080)

Always there to be smarter than the rest of the world (and to play Starcraft)

Re:Yay for chinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31514270)

Moron. This was Japan.

Some idiots can't even troll properly.

Re:Yay for chinks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31514494)

Ironically, you got trolled by my intentional misuse of the racist term Chink. Fucking moron.

Copyright (2, Interesting)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514150)

Oh, my, isn't this going to be a huge copyright scandal in a few years? I could walk into Borders, scan a few books onto my iPhone, and walk right out without paying.

Re:Copyright (4, Funny)

bb5ch39t (786551) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514326)

You're absolutely correct! The researchers need to immediately be jailed for contributing to copyright violations. Scientists! They never think about how their inventions will impact our Corporate Overlords.

Re:Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31514950)

Industrial revolutionaries need to be jailed for impacting our royal overlords.

Re:Copyright (4, Funny)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514528)

I know! Can you believe that even now you can go into Borders or Barnes and Nobel and -read- an entire book! And guess what? The employees there think its perfectly natural! There was a man there who said he had spent -3- hours just reading a book and drinking coffee! Talk about outrageous!

Re:Copyright (1)

gwern (1017754) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515800)

Isn't it outrageous? I mean, one could also buy a few books, scan them at leisure and return them!

Cool (-1)

thewils (463314) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514154)

When they get this going on an iPhone or whatever, you'll just wander into Chapters, flip through a book and read it at your leisure later. They'll never sell any more books until they ban "flipping".

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31514718)

Two words: shrink wrap.

Mind, considering that browsing at least the first couple of pages (or more, for non-fiction) is often essential to the sale, that may have an adverse impact. (Especially when you consider the added cost - not much per book but it adds up.)

Prior Art. (5, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514168)

Johnny 5: Alive!

Re:Prior Art. (2, Funny)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514360)

Damn! I had mod points this morning.

Re:Prior Art. (2, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515266)

Need input! Input, input, input!

Re:Prior Art. (2, Interesting)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#31517254)

Does no one here read Vernor Vinge?

(Spoilerish bit follows. Only a spoiler for the worst of purists, but they have been warned.)

Rainbow's End [teleread.org] has an act where an virtual book cartel deploys a giant vacuum/shredder/optical scanner to the UCSD Geisel Library. It sucks in books a shelf at a time, feeds them thru a wood chipper, and the shreds pass thru a tunnel lined with optical scanners. A photo is taken of each bit, and software reconstructs the books.

Needless to say, this idea displeases many people, and the climax of the novel takes place as the bibliovorous machine threatens the library.

(End spoilerish bit.)

Rainbow's End [wikipedia.org] should be on Slashdot's list of top 10 reads. I'm surprised it hasn't spawned a half dozen cliches here, e.g., belief circles and Scooch-a-mouts.

High Speed Camera (2, Informative)

bhima (46039) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514190)

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.

Rainbows End? (3, Interesting)

snikulin (889460) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514254)

Now if they also will learn to shred the books in the process and sell the technology to Google, then I will really respect Vernor Vinge's insight (Rainbows End [wikipedia.org] )

Re:High Speed Camera (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514762)

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.

I assume you could use a regular camera and just get more regular rates of speed, but without breaking the spine which is pretty much the point of the lasers.

Or for speed, take the binding/glue off, and use a Fujistu Scansnap. 50 pages per minute IIRC.

Re:High Speed Camera (4, Informative)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:High Speed Camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517372)

I figured it had something to do with the handycam

Re:High Speed Camera (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516048)

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.

Just throw it faster!

Faster method (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Faster method (5, Informative)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Faster method (5, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514768)

First, there are guillotine-style shears for cutting bindings off books that do no damage at all to the pages.

My bandsaw does no damage to the pages either. Clearly you haven't tried this. It worked for me, but I'm a small timer compared to the guys at bitsavers.org. They claim it works on an EXTREMELY large scale. I "saw" an ad for a paper shear (usually used for binding, and sorry for the pun). The shear was about 10 times the cost of my little tabletop bandsaw. If the market has changed and you can now buy a shear for the cost of a good steak dinner, well, I guess I'm out of date then. But even then, I needed a bandsaw for other purposes, and if its dual use, all the better, and I'd not be amused at buying, storing, maintaining, and evnetually disposing of two tools to do a job that one does perfectly well.

Second, nearly all the high-speed sheet-fed document scanners out there are duplex scanners.

New, maybe. Not in the olden times aka longer ago than yesterday. Maybe the new ones even duplex properly with paper other than standard 8.5x11 laser paper, and don't just jam on the cut edge. Maybe the new ones don't duplex at a speed about 4 times slower than non-duplex. You're the expert, I'm merely a guy who's actually done it.

I'm only saying what worked with what I had, and what I know other people have successfully done in the past, I'm not just some dude quoting specs out of a tiger direct catalog with an infinite budget for brand new gadgets.

Re:Faster method (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515316)

New, maybe. Not in the olden times aka longer ago than yesterday.

It's been the case for at least 10 years.

Maybe the new ones even duplex properly with paper other than standard 8.5x11 laser paper, and don't just jam on the cut edge.

As do the older ones.

Maybe the new ones don't duplex at a speed about 4 times slower than non-duplex.

Same speed duplex as single-sided. I do have to admit that I don't know how long that's been common.

You're the expert, I'm merely a guy who's actually done it.

Well, thanks for the compliment, but I am also a guy who's actually done a lot of scanning, with several different models spanning a fairly wide range of costs & speeds.

I'm only saying what worked with what I had, and what I know other people have successfully done in the past, I'm not just some dude quoting specs out of a tiger direct catalog with an infinite budget for brand new gadgets.

So, who is this mythical dude quoting specs out of a catalog? Must be what some people call a "straw man", because it sure as heck isn't me.

Re:Faster method (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515362)

One more thing:

My bandsaw does no damage to the pages either.

...jam on the cut edge.

So, perfect smooth cut edge? Or not?

Re:Faster method (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515638)

Damage as in think of how the bottom of a piece of plywood looks after you cut it, chips yanked off the edge. Tensile strength of paper is pretty high... with fine tooth blade and a cardboard backer board the pages are not torn, wrinkled, ripped thru the saw, etc. One sneaky way to prevent damage to the cover/last pages of a book you want, is to use a magazine/catalog/cardboard box or whatever as a backer board underneath the book you want to cut.

The bandsaw edge is, however, much more frizzy than the sheared edges, and could theoretically jam much better, although it works for me, well enough.

Really, you should try a bandsaw. Its super cheap and works well enough. It is also extremely fast, at least compared to the scanning time. You don't have to sacrifice a one of a kind first edition to try it, just saw last months catalog in half. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised, despite sounding super pessimistic about it. There is some learned technique to it, and it takes maybe a dozen catalogs to get the blade set up right, and make a perfectly straight cut.

Fair enough dude, I'll try a shear some time, since you claim it works so well. If its anything like my old high school sheet metal shear, I'd worry about losing fingers in it, but I'll be careful so I think it will be OK...

Re:Faster method (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516904)

You can get wavy (as opposed to toothed) bandsaw blades that might give a nice smooth cut for paper. They're designed for foam, I think.

Re:Faster method (1)

pydev (1683904) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516288)

First, there are guillotine-style shears for cutting bindings off books that do no damage at all to the pages.

Yes, but they are very expensive.

there are well-known equipment and well-established techniques that do not involve rubes with bandsaws and script hackery.

Why don't you do something useful and put together a HOWTO?

Re:Faster method (3, Funny)

Mista2 (1093071) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516512)

I just place my kindle on my scanner, hit scan, then next page. Rinse and repeat. 10 minutes later I have the book ripped. Then a little OCR work converts to text. this still takes a little time though as I'd have to proof read afterwards as well. Once I've done a few, I'll look at finding out how to re encode as a .mobi file.

Re:Faster method (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514400)

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

Note to self .. remember not to use Vim's method on priceless, one off books that are irreplaceable.

Re:Faster method (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514526)

Note to self .. remember not to use Vim's method on priceless, one off books that are irreplaceable.

You, uh, might have missed the rest of the post:

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.

I own DEC technical manuals from the 70s that are going in the trash within a decade at most. A decade ago, painfully yellowed. Today, turn a page and it snaps off. Thankfully, someone else did the bandsaw and scanner thing some time ago, so I can still read a .PDF of the same manual.

Re:Faster method (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514952)

You, uh, might have missed the rest of the post:

Ahh .. you might have missed the "humor". And I wouldn't exactly call a DEC manual priceless, one-off or irreplaceable.

Re:Faster method (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515690)

And I wouldn't exactly call a DEC manual priceless, one-off or irreplaceable.

Not in the 70s, no. But now, they are more or less "irreplaceable" in one sense, just like any other out of print book. As far as priceless, assuming its not so rare it never, ever hits ebay, I guess it had a recent "price", sort of.

Since DEC enjoyed using acid based paper which is literally rotting away, a 60s/70s era DEC manual will very soon be literally priceless, one-off, and irreplaceable.

Hopefully someone scanned it...

Re:Faster method (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514408)

Why not use a dual-sided scanner?

Re:Faster method (3, Funny)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514498)

Cutting the spine off a book you already own may or may not be sacrilege. But doing that to your friend's book might strain your relationship.

The employees at Borders were not amused when I wheeled my band saw in. They demanded that I pay for the book I'd just sawed up and scanned. I told them "I'm certainly not paying money for that book now, look how ruined it is! Besides, I already have a copy," as I waved my thumb drive in their face.

Re:Faster method (2, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514590)

The employees at Borders were not amused when I wheeled my band saw in. They demanded that I pay for the book I'd just sawed up and scanned. I told them "I'm certainly not paying money for that book now, look how ruined it is! Besides, I already have a copy," as I waved my thumb drive in their face.

Someone with real balls would have asked for a cash refund. "Clearly my copy of the book is faulty, can I get cash refund, or just instore credit?"

(just kidding)

Re:Faster method (0)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514656)

Not for a book you hadn’t paid for in the first place...

Re:Faster method (1)

Stormalong (36874) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515368)

Proprietor: Why don't you try W. H. Smith's?
Customer: I did, they sent me here.
Proprietor: DID they.

Re:Faster method (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515330)

AFAIK, what you described isn't too far off the technique used by Google to scan non-valuable material.

Re:Faster method (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516082)

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.

Ah, the Tim Taylor method. Any ideas for how to do the same thing with books that are 100-600 years old without causing damage?
That's kinda my field, so pardon me if I prefer we correspond via e-mail instead of putting you within 50 feet of our illuminated manuscripts. ;-)

Here we go... (4, Funny)

trurl7 (663880) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514224)

1) Yes, but does it run Linux....
2) Imagine a beowulf cluster of these...
3) I can't understand 200 pages/minute, what's that in LOC/furlough?
4) I can't read you insensitive clod.
5) In Soviet Russia, the book scans the book scanner...wait that's not quite right...ah, got it, ... the book scans you!
6.1) Scan books real fast
6.2) Tie into massive database that indexes every perceivable medium on the planet
6.3) Get sued by publishers.
6.4) ....
6.5) Profit!!
7) How fast can it build a 3d model of Natalie Portman with hot gritz?
8) The CIA will use this to scan every page of the manuscripts you've stored in your apartment and will come for your tin foil.
9) Netcraft confirms: reading is dying...
10) A book scanner is like a car that drives really fast over a highway full of book pages...

Someone needs to fix the above list for me.

Re:Here we go... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514454)

2) Imagine a beowulf cluster of these...

That would be a "library". A dynamically linked library, I suppose, since multiple people can borrow/read the same book.

11) If I read something on a LCD, my eyes hurt. And, I refuse to see an optometrist, instead the world has to bend their display technology to my will, ADA style.

12) If I compare, side by side, an expensive ebook reader with a cheap one, the expensive one always subjectively seems to look better. Surprisingly, works for audiophile stuff too. I'm waiting for an ebook reader with those "clean crisp vacuum tube ... pages" and conveniently I have a stack of old CRT monitors that will sell for big gold to future discerning bibliophiles. Either that or I can finally unload my stash of green CD-markers.

13) I have a new interpretation of quantum mechanics, where a light photon continues to have an energy, but now it has an internal state that knows if it was reflected or transmitted, and the eyes also have a quantum mechanical sensor that can discern the two internal states, and that eye sensor interprets transmitted photons as a pain sense. Where as the reflected photons are interpreted in the eye as an opiate stimulator. Hence reflected screens/paper is perfection and transmitted light from backlighted displays is equivalent to waterboarding.

14) And last but not least, I only read books while taking a shower in a bathtub, in full direct sunlight, and until an ebook reader can handle that environment I will not buy it. Unless Apple makes it. Well, just kidding about that last part, I think?

Re:Here we go... (1)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514852)

I don't really care much either way about LCD vs e-ink, but in a real-life environment, there is an effective difference between reflected and transmitted photons. The brightness of the screen can be drastically different than the surrounding environment with a backlit screen, with e-ink that is generally not the case. Don't optometrists recommend not using a bright monitor in a dark room? Presumably you want the display to be fairly well matched to the background. E-ink allows that, and LCDs don't.

I have almost no interest in ereaders, one way or the other... I'm just sayin'.

Re:Here we go... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515032)

in a real-life environment, there is an effective difference between reflected and transmitted photons.

Show me the physics... other than light polarization weakly depending on reflection. But human eyes have an extremely weak response to polarization.

The brightness of the screen can be drastically different than the surrounding environment with a backlit screen

Then it looks terrible until you adjust brightness/contrast. Which my ipod touch tries to do automatically, albeit very poorly. I think TVs have been available with auto-brightness adjustment since I owned one with that feature in the late 70s.

Don't optometrists recommend not using a bright monitor in a dark room?

Bright room equals tiny pupil diameter equals wide depth of field. And vice versa. If you're borderline near or far sighted, high light levels more or less cure it by shrinking the pupil.

E-ink allows that, and LCDs don't.

I've only seen two LCD screens without contrast and brightness settings on wristwatches and the worlds junkiest clock radio.

Re:Here we go... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31514486)

3) I can't understand 200 pages/minute, what's that in LOC/furlough?

[...]

Someone needs to fix the above list for me.

3) I can't understand 200 pages/minute, what's that in LOC/fortnight?

Re:Here we go... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31514896)

Yes, but will it blend?

This is Masatoshi Ishikawa (4, Informative)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:This is Masatoshi Ishikawa (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514472)

Sheesh - eventually one of these things will whip your appendix out faster than you can fill out a consent form.

Re:This is Masatoshi Ishikawa (3, Funny)

Digana (1018720) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514606)

Re:This is Masatoshi Ishikawa (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515960)

Why would you not believe that his jaw dropped.

It is a common physical reaction to seeing something the person finds amazing.

Re:This is Masatoshi Ishikawa (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31514624)

High-speed robot hand... from Japan.

No comment.

Re:This is Masatoshi Ishikawa (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515514)

Sure, the robot hand is great, but I suggest you try it out on a hotdog first, before you go straight to the main reason every slashdotter needs a robot hand...

Re:This is Masatoshi Ishikawa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31517930)

Pretty damn arrogant, that robotic hand. Look, it's dribbling a ball *and* giving us the finger [youtube.com] at the same time.

Smartphone Book Scanner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31514368)

Never going to happen unless you're scanning some tiny matchbook sized books. Half the problem is turning the pages quickly and reliably. Any handheld will be limited by your own mortal finger speed. Besides, once one person scans a book and makes it freely available, it will be easier for you to get their copy instead of scanning your own.

The bad news (1)

RJCantrell (1290054) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514392)

is that it can only scan child-porn manga.

A de-warping system? (1)

Mantis8 (876944) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514406)

Mr. Sulu would not be pleased...

Re:A de-warping system? (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514546)

Only a Starship made by Toyota not have a de-warping system of some kind.

Re:A de-warping system? (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514562)

I accidentally the whole thing somewhere there. /getting my eyes checked

What It Will Be Used For (1)

MrTripps (1306469) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514418)

"Watanabe told me he was particularly interested in scanning manga comics" Why does cool Japanese tech always end up back at tentacle rape?

And Scotty (1)

Mantis8 (876944) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514474)

is soooooo relieved...his warp engines really need a rest from Captain kirk's demands in galactic emergencies...

difference is resolution, actually (1)

tmbdev (1320455) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514502)

The article mentions Google's similar dewarping system; the difference here is speed.

There is nothing preventing Google from pushing high speed video through their book software. In fact, they could probably do that with very little work, since you can use an off-the-shelf high speed video recorder and then just push the frames through the regular processing pipeline.

The reason they don't (and nobody else does) is because it's not useful. For getting acceptable quality from book scanning, you need upwards of 10 Mpixels to get anything decent. Even if you had a 10 Mpixel high speed camera, you still need some control over lighting and camera/book angles for decent results.

Bad summary (1)

LtGordon (1421725) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514748)

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.

You lost me here. How exactly do I scan an entire book or magazine in seconds using only a smartphone. Somehow I imagine this technology is slightly more than software, unless cameras start coming with super-fast automated page turners attached.

Re:Bad summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31515332)

You did watch the linked video showing that the "super fast automated page turner" was actually a dude holding the book and flipping the pages by hand, right?

No, you didn't?

Bender did it first (2, Informative)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Bender did it first (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514870)

FYI the episode is "Birdbot of Ice-Catraz" about 4 minutes in.

Re:Bender did it first (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515268)

You'd have to be pretty good at flipping pages. Some of them always stick together, and I'd hate to be in a space ship where the Captain is a robot who "read" the manual but skipped the page about turning on the life support systems.

Data did it earlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31515420)

In Star Trek TNG episode "The Royale" Data reads the paperback novel "Hotel Royale" in seconds by flipping through it.

Re:Bender did it first (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515484)

oh noez "prior art"

Re:Bender did it first (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515552)

You do realize fictional cartoon characters don't really count as "prior art", don't you?

Re:Bender did it first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31515908)

why, aren't they as a real tangible things as a patent ?

Deja-vu (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#31514866)

There was a similar post in december last year [slashdot.org] . Main difference seems to be speed. That did 400 pages in 20 minutes, this new one does 200 in 1 minute.

And we'll all fly around on jetpacks ... (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515272)

one day we could scan a book or magazine in seconds using a smartphone

... I guess this claim was made because we all know that soon smartphones will all have lasers and high speed cameras.

Re:And we'll all fly around on jetpacks ... (1)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516192)

one day we could scan a book or magazine in seconds using a smartphone

... I guess this claim was made because we all know that soon smartphones will all have lasers and high speed cameras.

.. which will be mounted on the heads of friggin' sharks, who will not only zap you, but save pictures of it for their scrapbooks.

fastest? (1)

trb (8509) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515460)

I believe the narrator in the video says that the high speed camera is scanning 1000x1000 pixels, and the book he is scanning has very large type, with fewer than 20 text lines per page. I imagine that this scanner can't scan normal text as fast as the Google book scanner.

I'm not impressed (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515578)

Sure, it can scan 200 pages per minute... but I could swear I saw it's lips moving as it was reading!

Publishing industry will follow the music industry (2, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515592)

Technology like this will cause the publishing industry to go the way of the music and movie industries.

Right now the publishing industry is where the music industry was 7 years ago. Multiple incompatible book formats, DRM that lets rights holders yank your paid content away from you, DRM/formats that leave you tied to specific vendor readers, etc.

The barrier of scanning a book has made the publishing industry think that they don't need to provide books in a format that users want and feel that they can keep books locked down by DRM.

Even if DRM succeeds in keeping e-books from being redistributed, scanning technology keeps moving forward. All it's going to take is some enterprising company to buy one of these scanners and become the "AllofMP3" of the book world -- selling e-books in open, non-DRM formats for $1/each and the publisher's business model will fail miserably and they'll try doing the same catch-up that the music industry is involved in in trying to give users a reasonably priced legal product that can compete with the cheap illegal copies.

it won't even take new scanning technology for this to happen -- a scanning "peer-to-peer" service can be formed where thousands of subscribers are asked to scan and proofread a single page from new releases, which are them compiled into a central database to form a complete scanned book archive.

Whether they like it or not, the book industry is going to be forced into open, interoperable standards for books, and lower prices that consumers have come to expect from industries where nearly all of the manufacturing and distribution costs have been eliminated by electronic distribution.

Why are we scanning books (3, Interesting)

pclminion (145572) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515640)

Why the fuck are we scanning books? Isn't there, you know, a DIGITAL REPRESENTATION which is used during typesetting? This reminds me of that crazy story of the person who printed out a spreadsheet, scanned it in, printed out the scan, laid it on a wooden table, took a digital picture of it, then uploaded it to his web site (or something like that).

Re:Why are we scanning books (3, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#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).

Re:Why are we scanning books (1)

ajrs (186276) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515928)

yeah, there was nothing of interest that was ever published without a DIGITAL REPRESENTATION.

I don't see what the big fuss about Gutenberg is. Even the ancient Babylonians were using lasers to print on their clay tablets.

Re:Why are we scanning books (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516056)

Obviously, books printed before the digital era are not available in digital form. Duh. But I don't understand -- you want to take a very old, presumably fragile book, and run it through a 200-page-per-minute scanner? The only books I'd feel comfortable doing that to are books where the value is mostly in the words, not the paper they are printed on -- and for the most part, those are recently published books where a digital representation is available.

I'm not discounting the value of scanning old books. But be careful with them, ok? Jeez.

Re:Why are we scanning books (2, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why are we scanning books (1)

Linuxmonger (921470) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516690)

Because typesetting hasn't been digital for very long in any real sense. I know companies that still maintain and use hot lead presses to do printing.
I've worked in the printing industry for almost twenty years, seen the revolution, thought it would have been over by now but it isn't.

--
Youngster!

Google Patents? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#31515768)

I believe that Google owns the patents on this approach.

Amanda Seyfried/Julianne Moore love scene? Check! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516032)

The fastest non-destructive book scanner.

The fastest are ones where you chop off the binding, run the pages through an industrial scanning machine, and dump the blob off into modern character recognition software.

Re:Amanda Seyfried/Julianne Moore love scene? Chec (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516062)

To put it in perspective, you'll need over 5000 years to process all 7 million books in the U-Mich library using one of these, or one year with over 5000 such machines, round the clock.

Now the question is (1)

Kanasta (70274) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516096)

how long it takes for the authors guild or whatever they're called to brand this as a purely copyright infringement machine.

This begs a deeper question (2, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 3 years ago | (#31516122)

When established industries become prey for new technology, why do they resist and ask for protection? This is a fundamental question of society. We protect indigenous peoples. We have copyright and patents. We do much to preserve the old along with the new - backwards compatibility. Why do we not simply tell such industries that it's time to change and support them through the change? Yes, I get the whole free market thing, but rather than fight them to force them to accept change, why don't we offer them ideas and methods to change their business model to match the change in consumer requirements?

No, I'm not being trollish or suggesting stupidity. Why can't we crowd-source ideas for how these industries can recover from game changing technology? Must we wait for Jobs to tell us?

It's just a question.

Re:This begs a deeper question (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#31517468)

"No, I'm not being trollish or suggesting stupidity."
Indeed you do.

Consumers have the right to choose. And sometimes sticking with older version of things is more cost effective. Do you always buy the latest version of MS Word?

time is of the essence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31517052)

last remaining copies of works disappear everyday. everything needs to be scanned in. it's pitiful that right now it's basically impossible to find a freely downloadable pdf of the public domain book "the compleat housewife" Eliza Smith 1727 or other such books.

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