Professor builds LEGO robot that strips DRM from Kindle books

lego robot strips drm from ebooks kindle

Created by Vienna University of Technology professor Peter Purgathofer, this automated DIY Kindle scanner allows the professor to “scan” an entire digital book using a MacBook, standard Amazon Kindle e-Reader and a robotic contraption built from a LEGO Mindstorms kit. Propped up in front the digital camera within the MacBook, the Mindstorms robot first presses the “Next Page” button on the right side of the Kindle device. After about a second, the robotic contraption triggers a lever that pushes the spacebar on the MacBook in order to trigger a photograph with the camera. 

All of these images are collected and processed through am optical character recognition program turning the digital Kindle book into a text file that can be printed out on paper. Purgathofer doesn’t identify the software that he’s using to convert the photos into text, but there are a number of free options available for Mac users. The professor said that he has only tested the concept with one book, but it seems to work perfectly without any human interaction besides starting a book at the first page.

Kindle LEGO DRM Remover

In an interview with AllThingsD, the professor indicated that the robotic setup was designed to bring attention to the limitations of DRM on content like books. Specifically, Purgathofer said “It ended being a reflection on the loss of long-established rights when you buy an e-book. You make a copy of that book, but at eye-level, so that the result is not a stack of paper, but another e-book.” He isn’t interested in sharing more details on the design and setup of the project, specifically because he doesn’t want to get in trouble for encouraging circumventing DRM. 

Purgathofer doesn’t pull any punches within the description on the Vimeo page that hosts the video. Purgathofer states “The DIY kindle scanner is an art installation reflecting this loss of rights Jeff Bezos first defended for us, but then chose to remove. It also is a statement about the futility of DRM.”

Business

Cathay Pacific messes up first-class ticket prices — again

A couple of weeks ago, an error on Cathay Pacific's website resulted in first-class seats selling for a tenth of the price. On Sunday, January 13, the airline made the error again. The good news is that it'll honor the bookings.
Mobile

The most expensive Galaxy S10 could be the priciest Galaxy phone we've seen

Not long now; with 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Gaming

Who needs a Switch? These 25 games prove there's fun to be found on 3DS

The 3DS is home to a large library, including some of the greatest games Nintendo has ever published. We've compiled this list of some of the best Nintendo 3DS games currently available.
Movies & TV

Epic sci-fi novels you should read before they become blockbuster films

You can get ahead of the next crop of science-fiction movies coming out of Hollywood by picking up the books that inspired them. We compiled a list of books you can add to your reading list now to get a glimpse of the future.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.