Japanese scientists build world's fastest scanner

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Japanese scientists build world's fastest scanner

Scan a 200-page book in one minute.

Japanese scientists have been demonstrating a scanner that uses revolutionary chip technology to scan a 200-page book in just one minute.

Masatoshi Ishikawa, a professor at the University of Tokyo, and lab members Takashi Nakashima and Yoshihiro Watanabe have built the scanner using a special Super Vision Chip that can react faster than the eye can see.

The chip, along with a high-definition camera, allows a book to be scanned just by flipping through the pages.

The camera shoots at 500 frames per second, at 1280x1024 pixels, and takes two images of each page, one under regular light to get the content of the book and the other of a laser projecting lines on the page.

The laser detects how curved the page is and then the scanner uses software to build a 3D image of the page. The final content may not be quite as good as a flat panel scan but it is certainly readable, Ishikawa said.

At the moment the device is in prototype stage but Ishikawa's team is working on miniaturising the system so that it can be installed in portable devices such as smartphones.

The device would have obvious applications for projects such as Google's Book Search programme, but the team reports that some publishers are less than enthralled with the invention.

Watanabe contacted one manga publishing house to discuss the device and, on hearing about it, the publisher banned the team from using any of its publications in testing.

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