Monday, January 12, 2009

Analog to digital: Books

The folks at MAKE blog are at the big Consumer Electronics Show (CES). They have the opportunity to see and write about many wonders of this year's inventions.

The first device I'll talk about is a contraption that takes a whole book and automatically (I really prefer to say "automagically") outputs digital files for each page of the book without intervention beyond setting it into motion. My goodness, this thing looks like a Rube Goldberg device if ever I saw one. Wonder where the finger lick goes to make the page turn right?

Then they talk about a product where you have to insert a book and, page at a time (like conventional flat-bed scanners, this thing scans books directly into audio files for $700 for the product. But, getting the book square with the scanner and flipping and flopping the book is definitely not only hard work, but it is also TEDIOUS in the extreme.

Having done a few such operations "back in the day", I can say that one has to have almost infinite patience to make it all happen in a successful way. From that standpoint, the first product makes more sense, since you just load the book, start it going and step back.

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