Homebrew, $300 book-scanner

Wired has a great feature on grad student Daniel Reetz $300 homebrew book-scanner (David linked to the Instructable for it in April). The device uses a couple of digital cameras, some acrylic and some wood to scan a 400 page book in 20 minutes, converting the scans to text with free software.

So over three days, and for about $300, he lashed together two lights, two Canon Powershot A590 cameras, a few pieces of acrylic and some chunks of wood to create a book scanner that's fast enough to scan a 400-page book in about 20 minutes. To use it, he simply loads in a book and presses a button, then turns the page and presses the button again. Each press of the button captures two pages, and when he's done, software on Reetz's computer converts the book into a PDF file. The Reetz DIY book scanner isn't automated-you still need to stand by it to turn the pages. But it's fast and inexpensive.

"The hardware is ridiculously simple as long as you are not demanding archival quality," he says. "A dumpster full of building materials, really cheap cameras and outrageous textbook prices was all I needed to do it."

DIY Book Scanners Turn Your Books Into Bytes