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3D book scanner eyes novels at 250 pages per minute

As books prepare to enter the afterlife, a solution finally appears that could make the transition less destructive.

Saving books, 250 pages at a time. Dai Nippon Printing

As we progress further into the Digital Age, many believe it's important to preserve our printed past.

Dai Nippon Printing announced today an astounding machine that can scan books at a blazing rate of 250 pages per minute. The Japanese company co-developed the book scanner -- which it claims is the world's fastest -- with University of Tokyo Professors Masatoshi Ishikawa and Yoshihiro Watanabe.

The high-speed scanner doesn't copy pages the way your multifunction home printer does. Rather, it employs a robotic mechanism to flip through the book and has two powerful cameras above that take a 3D image of each page. This method also differs from conventional high-speed scanning devices that require cutting the pages out, thus saving the lives of books everywhere.

To create the perfect page, software inside the scanner analyzes, corrects, and combines the two images of the single page accordingly. The end result delivers an ultra-crisp 400 pixel per inch (ppi) scan of that page, which would deliver very high text quality and perfect content for conversion into an e-book, PDF, and so forth.

Dai Nippon Printing notes that the steadfast scanner will likely come to market in 2013, but did not reveal pricing.

An example of a scanned page by the super quick book scanner. Dai Nippon Printing