Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scanner spies document secrets

September 28, 2011
University of Oxford
A scanner which combines the convenience of a desktop scanner with the functionality of a powerful laboratory imaging device has been developed and is now being commercialized.

The Oxford Multi Spectral scanner was developed for imaging ancient papyri.
Credit: OMS

A scanner which combines the convenience of a desktop scanner with the functionality of a powerful laboratory imaging device has been developed at the University of Oxford's Faculty of Classics, and is now being commercialised by a new company Oxford Multi Spectral Limited which was recently spun out by the University's technology transfer company Isis Innovation.

The scanner was developed for imaging ancient papyri and the technology has been used to successfully scan, restore and archive over a quarter of a million historically significant manuscripts.

Oxford Multi Spectral Limited (OMS) will focus on the applications in restoring manuscripts and art, as well as the huge potential market for detecting forged security and border control documents, bank notes and forensic evidence.

Managing director of Forensic Document Services, the biggest forensic document company in the Asia Pacific, Paul Westwood, explained the Oxford scanner could be used to analyse a huge variety of samples, including crime scene samples such as counterfeit and altered documents as well as documents bearing erased or faded entries and signatures: 'The portable nature of the scanner means that it will be a great resource when document examiners are required to undertake examinations out of the laboratory environment, such as at Court Registries or the offices of opposing lawyers.

'We anticipate that using the Oxford scanner will be like moving from using a dark room to using a modern digital camera. We can use it to detect what is currently invisible and make it visible.

'The compact design and powerful imaging and analysis will be of great benefit to document examiners worldwide.'

OMS CEO, Mike Broderick said: 'OMS delivers multispectral imaging capabilities superior to large laboratory systems in a very cost-effective apparatus.

'Current multispectral imaging kits use cameras, but they are large, expensive and need specialist operators. Our scanner uses well-proven flat-bed scanner technology and powerful image processing to scan visible and 'invisible' features which absorb and reflect light at different wavelengths such as inks, pigments, polymers or papers.'

Dr Alexander Kovalchuk, the physicist who invented the scanner explained: 'An ordinary colour image has three layers: red, green and blue; a multispectral image has many more layers, some of which are invisible to the human eye, but all of these layers contain potentially useful information. Our scanner is capable of registering an unlimited number of layers.'

Dr Dirk Obbink, University Lecturer in Papyrology and head of the research group which developed the scanner said: 'The technical leaps we made mean many ancient documents which were previously unreadable can now be scanned and read.

'We can take digital images at different wavelengths of the light band and layer them on top of each other, using software to analyse them. We can set the equipment to interrogate a feature we are interested in: the surface structure, fibres, stains, watermarks, fingerprints, or alterations. We can detect an artist or writer's signature under multiple layers of paint or the pencil sketch under a watercolour.'

OMS has secured an investment of 250,000 from a Chinese investor Changsha Yaodong Investment Consulting Co and its UK based partner RTC Innovations to commercialise, manufacture and market the scanners globally. It received 47,600 from the University Challenge Seed Fund last year for prototyping work.

Isis Innovation managing director Tom Hockaday said: 'OMS will be the first spin-out from the University of Oxford's Faculty of Classics and indeed from the University's Humanities Division. We are delighted to see the impact of this technology across other disciplines.'

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Scanner spies document secrets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926230110.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2011, September 28). Scanner spies document secrets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926230110.htm
University of Oxford. "Scanner spies document secrets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926230110.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This

More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) Japan's bullet train turns 50 Wednesday. Here's a look at how it's changed over half a century — and the changes it's inspired globally. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins