How to build the prototype


There is not much your need to know about how to build the prototype than what you see in the pictures above. Simply cut a cardboard box in half (preferably cube shaped), use duct tape to attach a small camera tripod to one of the edges, and extract a piece of glass from a picture frame – you will need that to flatten the paper while scanning. Finally, position a desk lamp at the opposite side of the camera in order to light up the paper surface without producing glare on the glass. We used our own compact digital camera (10 Mpx), obtaining surprisingly good results. In the end, the only things we had to buy were the picture frame and the tripod, for total £2 at Poundland store.

Since our prototype is very similar to the original cardboard-box book scanner designed by Daniel Reetz and Matti Kariluoma –– we actually followed their instructions to build our own, with few minor modifications –, we suggest you to read their guide for more detailed information on how to build the scanner (the guide is also available in PDF).

Basically, the main difference between the two lies in the tripod: they used a taller one attached to the table, while we use a smaller tripod fixed to the box itself. The latter solution makes the scanner more portable, but also means that the tripod’s position is not adjustable: sometimes you may need to fix the inclination of the scanner by putting something (e.g., other books) under one end of the box, in order to keep the book pages parallel to the camera’s lens.


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