IEEE's Erico Guizzo visited the lab of Masatoshi Ishikawa, a professor at the University of Tokyo, and videotaped this demo of his machine that scans the text and images of a book as you flip through its pages.
Ishikawa is well known in robotics circles for his Matrix bullet time-style amazing demos — like a robo-hand that can dribble a ball and catch objects in midair with superhuman dexterity. How he does it? A Super Vision Chip (that's what he calls it) that can "see" events too fast for the eye.
Ishikawa and his colleagues are already working on several applications — including a microscope that can track individual bacteria and a video game motion-capture system (similar to Microsoft's Project Natal) for gesture playing. Late last year when I visited the lab, they showed me their latest creation: a superfast book scanner.
The system, developed by lab members Takashi Nakashima and Yoshihiro Watanabe, lets you scan a book by rapidly flipping its pages in front of a high-speed camera. They call this method book flipping scanning. They told me they can digitize a 200-page book in one minute, and hope to make that even faster.