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The Linear Book Scanner Project

Gareth Halfacree

Books - proper physical books made out of processed dead tree and adorned with ink - are wonderful things which should never go away, regardless of how clever eBook readers become in the future. Unfortunately, they're also relatively inaccessible - as anyone who has searched for a particular passage in a book without an index will agree - and have a limited lifespan, particularly at the cheaper end of the market with its acid-heavy paper and poor bindings. Google, as part of its mission to become the world's biggest advertising-funded repository of information, released plans for a linear book scanner to help digitise physical books at a low cost using a triangular housing with the guts of two dismantled hand-held scanners, a vacuum, and a stepper motor typically driven by an Arduino microcontroller. Several prototypes exist throughout the world, with the latest being a build by YouTube user Forssa1 using a laser-cut acrylic housing and a server fan in place of the bulky vacuum. A year in the making, Forssa1 has yet to share full details of his creation but it appears to be a minor variant of the Linear Book Scanner Prototype 2 built by Dany Qumsiyeh in 2013 - a design which, collectors and preservationists should note, has a tendency to fold or tear at least a couple of pages per book during the scanning process.

Based on Google's design and using two hand held book scanners and Arduino Mega. It is built from laser-cut acrylic and use a powerful server fan to turn the pages. I'm using the guts taken out of two separate (originally battery powered) hand held scanners. The Arduino board controls the scanners via optocouplers, tacked onto the buttons on the scanners.

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