Linear Book Scanner Does It With Arduino

About two and half years ago, the Google Books team open-sourced the plans for their book scanning rig, and there was much rejoicing. As [Dany Qumsiyeh] explained in the Google Tech talk we linked to at the time, the scanner uses a vacuum to lift the next page from the stack and turn it, saving hours of human labor and, admittedly, putting books in a little bit of danger.

[Chris] tipped us off about a different take on the linear book scanner created by [Forssa1] that uses server fan to turn the pages. [Forssa1]’s rig is built from laser-cut acrylic and employs two handheld scanners driven by an Arduino Mega. We don’t have a great deal of information about this build, but you can check it out after the break.

UPDATE: [Forssa1] checked in with us and sent a link to more build photos of his book scanner.

Thanks for the tip, [Chris]!

26 thoughts on “Linear Book Scanner Does It With Arduino

  1. Here’s a take on the book scanner that’s actively being developed by a group of makers in Germany:
    They are using the coanda effector technique to turn the pages.
    Was a great success at Maker Faire Hannover (that’s actually where the team first met two years ago).
    If you read German, there’s a longform article in the previous issue of (German) Make:

  2. It would be faster, cheaper, and more reliable to use one of Apple’s sweatshops in China to do this manually. If one of your scanners breaks, you simply hire their children.

      1. Lololo it’s so fun to joke about the horrible working conditions of some Chinese factory workers, but God forbid you poke fun at the rape of a woman. Hypocrites.


  3. for non-rare books i think i would opt for destructive scanning. cut the spines off with a guillotine and plop the innards into an automated office scanner.

    books that are rare or fragile would probibly be better off having their pages turned by hand, being photographed with both high resolution and depth cameras. then algorithmically flatten out and re-render the page as an image file. ocr to preserve the content, and keep the scans on file for historical reasons.

    1. The best thing about hand scanning is the ability to insert a black page behind the one being scanned to eliminate back-scatter from showing the reverse side ghost image. When I scanned a book this way it eliminated at least 90% of the difficult to clean noise in the image. The remainder was actual dirt and other marks.

      1. +1
        Black backing worked well when I scanned an oil soaked rare old shop manual with translucent pages. Then white-balance post processing to make brown pages white again.

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