Speedy book-scanning robot breezes through 250 pages per minute

speedy book scanning robot breezes through 250 pages per minute bfs autoIf you thought you were a fast reader, with your finely tuned fingers and super-computer-like brain able to tear through a book in a couple of hours, then wait till you hear about the BFS-Auto robot.

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.

One of the cameras monitors each page as it turns, observing its 3D structure 500 times a second in order to choose the very best moment for the second camera to fire its shutter.speedy book scanning robot breezes through 250 pages per minute curl to flat

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.

[Dvice via Gizmag]