There seems to be a lot of lessons wrapped up in this story. One, never under estimate the things you can create with a vacuum cleaner. Two, there are benefits to giving employees personal time. And three, a 1,000-page book can be scanned in an hour and a half with the right equipment. Or so we've learned from Google Books engineer Dany Qumsiyeh, who - along with team mates - has created a $1,500 book scanner and made it open source.
Google gives employees 20-percent time, which is a work perk where workers can spent some on-the-clock time pursuing personal projects. That has paid off well, it seems, with Google Books engineer Qumsiyeh spending his time creating a nearly self-operating book scanner. The device is created from an original vacuum and sheet metal.
The device works in a fairly simple way. Thanks to the vacuum, air-suction is utilized to pull a single page into the prototype. Once in place, both sides of the page are then scanned, and the next page is retrieved. Setup takes less than one minute, after which point the scanner is self-operated.
A 1,000-page books take a bit over 90 minutes to scan, a speed that can be improved as the prototype is refined. The entire unit costs $1,500 to construct, which you can do at home with a bit of industriousness. The entire project is open source; you can nab the plans online and spend your own free time improving the system.
[via The Verge]