Developed by engineers at the Ishikawa Oku Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, the high-speed scanner can deal with an impressive 250 pages a minute, which works out at a shade over four pages every single second.
Designed to convert physical books into digital copies without having to first dismantle them, the robot flips delicately through the pages, with a pair of high-definition cameras analyzing and snapping them one by one.
As the book isn’t pulled right open and flattened down – which would obviously cause it damage – each image shows a slightly curled page. That’s no problem for the BFS-robot, however, which runs a real-time algorithm to create a flat, undistorted final image (right).
Expected to hit the market in 2013, the speed-reading robot could appeal to libraries wishing to quickly and efficiently create a digital record of its inventory – especially of publications which are out of print or commercially unavailable – or for museums with historical manuals and texts in need of preservation. Perhaps Google Books will take a look at it.
And you never know, maybe the day will come where we’ll be able to wire it up to our brains, enabling us to get through a maxed-out Kindle in a couple of days (although that could start getting costly with the number of Amazon downloads required to keep up with demand….).
You can check out the BFS-Auto robot in the rather charming 60-second video below.