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Scribe Development Process
Internet Archives, was interested in working with AIP Engineering to
design & manufacture a new book scanning system. They had
some experience with an automated page-flipping
book scanner, and wanted this new system to be manually operated to
avoid the high per-unit costs ($120,000), as well as the high
maintainance costs and downtime associated with a robotic system.
They also wanted the new system to shoot through glass, which is used
to keep the pages flat. Image quality suffers in systems that do
not use glass to flatten the pages of the book, as the imaged pages
have a visible waviness. This can theoretically be fixed in
software, but any software fix involves trade-offs, and any software
engineer knows that a solution will not be 100%, especially when
dealing with materials as varied as books. With Scribe,
the goal was to design a system that will take a near-perfect image
having to rely upon post-processing to finish the image, thereby
avoiding quality-degrading post-processing steps.
A week after reaching an agreement, the first working mock-up had been
built from wood, glass, and steel:
This demonstrated the feasibility of shooting through glass, but
highlighted that avoiding reflections with glass, while maintaining
nice, bright lighting, was going to be a challenge on this project.
About 6 weeks later, a compete prototype had been made out of aluminum,
this time with Canon EOS 1ds Mark II, and a wide-spectrum
About 5 weeks later, yet another completely new system had been made, which
now used 6 multi-phosphor "daylight" cold cathode light tubes, as well
as an adjustable light aperature for different sizes of books:
And then, another 6 weeks later, came the beta unit, now with overhead
lighting using daylight-equivalent, specially coated halogen bulbs, as well as all
platen, cradle, lifter arms, and corner bracing:
We worked with the beta unit for about 8 weeks, redesigning the lights
and many other subsystems while working with a local production machine
to make parts for the
first 10 units in the summer of 2005. Below is the first scribe
unit used in prodution, which includes many extra holes
and un-anodized parts. The client didn't care about looks,
they wanted something that worked, and fast!
A number of relatively small changes have been made since that time, and pictures of the
most recent Scribes are available in press images online.