December 23, 2015
Digitizing analog documents, books and works of art has developed into a broad-based professional activity with the aim of saving and preserving our cultural heritage and making it accessible to research and reference for generations to come. The proliferation of digital image processing and enhancement techniques along with the development of high-resolution and color-stabilized cameras, the proper storage and distribution media has brought professional digitization systems into the mainstream of technology evolution, not as present as entertainment media but an equally important technology.
Almost every library and document repository in the developed world today has a well-funded department charged with the ongoing effort of digitizing their holdings. This is, no doubt, a costly and tedious task, since every book has to be scanned page by page by specialists who know how to handle sometimes unique, irreplaceable and fragile items with due respect to their status. Equally demanding are the requirements placed on the design of the equipment used in this process to prevent damage to the items scanned.
High-resolution cameras specifically designed as book scanners are a precondition for these delicate tasks. Equally important are professional organizations and industry groups such as “book2net” – an international alliance of solution providers and users – developing the appropriate scanning systems and procedures for archives, libraries and museums around the world. An additional objective is the continuous upgrade of these scanning systems to meet the increasing user demands.
Microbox GmbH, a highly specialized systems developer and service provider in this field, headquartered in Bad Nauheim, Germany, is marketing a broad range of book2net book and document scanners. Their systems are equipped with sophisticated LED illumination systems and are offered in several configurations from manual entry-level to fully automated workflow optimization. Additionally they feature OCR character recognition and support a wide range of standard, single- and multi-page file formats. An online document and book presentation software, called “Virtual Reading Room” enables an authentic reading experience of the scanned materials.
About two years ago, in the context of expanding its offering of book scanners, Microbox became aware of the new extremely high-resolution CMOS image sensor developed by CMOSIS, a pure-play supplier of standard and application-specific CMOS image sensors for industrial and professional markets such as machine vision, scientific, medical, automatic data capture and space, headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium. Their low-noise area-array sensor CHR70M realizes an up to now unprecedented image resolution of 71 Megapixels on a 36 x 24 mm² CMOS chip, laid out in a square pixel pitch of 3.1µm. The CHR70M sensor provides an extremely large image area of 10,000 by 7,096 active square pixels in a standard Bayer color layout but is also available as a grey-scale system with even higher resolution.