Today I had the pleasure of trying out the Zeutsel OS 12000. The Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies has one. This is a monster of a scanner, using topcamera’s. It had the look and feel of being German made. It does not have a touch screen which may be confusing when you stand in front of it. Also, when you plug in a usb-stick, it does not automatically continue but you have to press OK. Scanning itself is a charm. It has an ingenious surface that consists of different parts that may be raised or lowered so that you can put your book flat without torturing the spine. Even better, once the surface is in a good position, you can lock it. What is also nice is that there are two buttons on the surface to activate a new scan, so you theoretically never have to leave your hands from the book. In practice, you still do.
I had a big book to scan with me. Here are the results: 364 scans in 58 minutes = 9.5 seconds per scan. This is corroborated by timing individual scans, which were in the range of 7 – 10 seconds. This is fast.
The result is a very big file. It is because it is using topcamera’s that make too high quality pictures. The function to black/white the pages works reasonable. What is also neat is that it can cut recognize your fingers on a picture and leave them out in the final file. File size is itself already reason enough to refrain from using this machine.
It has other functions as well. Among them the function to automatically cut pages. That is, if you make a picture of an open book, you have one picture of two pages. It can cut that image along the spine and create two pictures, each of only one page. This sound really cool, but for books in Arabic, that are oriented from right to left, this is useless because all pages are paired up wrongly (21436587… instead of 1234678….).
Book scanners are getting there. It is a treat to use, the book is tortured as little as possible, some neat features are included, but, alas, the file size it produces is simply too big. Perhaps with a firmware upgrade this may be remedied.