Without doubt, there is a sub-culture of photographers who adore Lego. Count Benjamin Bezine among them. Bezine has used Lego, a Raspberry Pi personal computer, and an integrated LED to create an automated film to digital, erm… contraption, scanner.
Bezine uses Lego and Technic gears as the building blocks for a robotic machine to photograph negatives as they are pulled past an LED. His Raspberry Pi personal computer recognizes the irregular frame sizes of analog film to pause the film movement in front of an LED where a mirrorless camera photographs the negative. Beyond that, the RoboScan, as Bezine has dubbed it, is integrated with Capture One to apply basic edits to the negatives to turn them into digital images for editing. The RoboScan appears to be a completely automated scanning process.
As Bezine says,
When doing analog photography, scanning is the most painful part – RoboScan tries to make the whole workflow easier, from the film to the final image file.
Bezine’s device takes about 6 minutes to scan a 36-frame roll of film, including the transfer to his computer.
As of now, the software for Bezine’s RoboScan is still open source.
Surely this is an adventure and not a serious tool. That being said, based on Bezine’s examples, the scanner seems to work well. With that in mind, what’s wrong with adventure?
Have you ever constructed something with irregular tools to complete a relatively regular task?
You can see an older version of Bezine’s invention here:
Lead image from Alan Chia, under CC license 2.0