If you’ve ever seen the 1980s movie Short Circuit, you might remember the scene where Number 5 reads an entire volume of the encyclopedia in a few seconds. Fantasy, you say? Maybe not. A new development makes Number 5’s inate reading ability a reality.
A high-speed scanner developed by the University of Tokyop is can scan a 200-page book in about a minute, according to an IEEE Spectrum report. The scanner captures the text using a high-speed camera that can take 500 shots per second. The device is uses stereoscopic (3D) imaging–involving parallel laser lines displayed on the book’s surface–to capture a 3D image of the page. The computer then reconstructs the 3D page, adjusts for the curvature of the page and using custom software, and creates a 2-dimensional scan.
Masatoshi Ishikawa, the book scanner’s creator, previously developed a kind of ridiculously fast robotic hands. Ishikawa and his team hope that his fast-scanning technology could one day be built into smart phones so you could scan books on the go, an idea publishers probably aren’t crazy about.
I do part-time work scanning tax documents, so it’s a bit disconcerting when you see a robot that can you your job faster (but not better…yet) than you. It doesn’t seem like it’s ready for home or office use quite yet, but only time will tell.
[via Wired Gadget Lab]
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