30 days of ideas – 11: Photo Stack-and-Scan

Okay, so we can talk about my drawing skills another time. For now, this should suffice to illustrate something I was convinced must already exist, it’s such a simple, obvious and useful thing to have. But for the life of me, I can find no trace of such a thing.

Stacker photo scanner
It’s a photo scanner. It scans standard, everyday ordinary prints. You stack them in a box at the back of the machine. You press Go. You leave for work.

The scanner brings them in one at a time, scans them, adds them to your photo software, or uploads them to Flickr or whatever. They won’t be perfect, perhaps and you might need to do a bit of reorientation or whatever afterwards – but they’d be good enough for my purposes.

And then, when you come home for dinner, you’ll find a tray of scanned photos, and an empty stacker, ready for the next batch.

I have four and a half thousand 6″ x 4″ photos covering the past 20-odd years sitting here in a large box waiting to be done, and I’ll be damned if I’m putting them on my flatbed scanner one at a time, selecting the scan area, resolution, format and filename for each shot.

Could someone please make this? I promise I’ll buy it.

Table of contents for 30 Days of Ideas

  1. The other way of following first
  2. Now we’re up and dancing
  3. 30 days of ideas – 01: Keymash
  4. 30 days of ideas – 02: Radio Alerts
  5. 30 days of ideas – 03: Only Famous (a romantic comedy)
  6. 30 days of ideas – 04: Modcasts
  7. 30 days of ideas – 05: Numberless Calendar
  8. 30 days of ideas – 06: SpringCleanr
  9. 30 days of ideas – 07: Street Gallery
  10. 30 days of ideas – 08: Smart Business Cards
  11. 30 days of ideas – 09: Recordings in Concert
  12. 30 days of ideas – 10: Vinyl scanner
  13. 30 days of ideas – 11: Photo Stack-and-Scan
  14. 30 days of ideas – 12: A Box of Cool
  15. 30 days of ideas – 13: Karaoke-Tube Celebstar Idol
  16. 30 days of ideas – 14: I Made You A Tape
  17. 30 days of ideas – 15: Newspaper download codes
  18. 30 days of ideas – 16: Pebble Splash
  19. 30 days of ideas – 17: Digital radio, somewhere useful
  20. 30 days of ideas – 18: Public domain music collection
  21. 30 days of ideas – 19: Blog cast-list automator
  22. 30 days of ideas – 20: The Retirement Pile
  23. 30 days of ideas – 21: Nationalise EMI
  24. 30 days of ideas – 22: The Stainless Steel Rat (the movie)
  25. 30 days of ideas – 23: WordPress Bandcampify template
  26. 30 days of ideas – 24: Rollercoasters as public transport
  27. 30 days of ideas – 25: Next-gen personalised music radio
  28. 30 days of ideas – 26: New Music Trust
  29. 30 days of ideas – 27: Tamagotchi Gardening
  30. 30 days of ideas – 28: Charity shop clothing subscription
  31. 30 days of ideas – 29: ‘Now Playing’ social music app
  32. 30 days of ideas – 30: House of Spare Ideas
  33. Mixtape for You by Ray Kuyvenhoven
  34. What can you do in 30 days?

8 Responses to “30 days of ideas – 11: Photo Stack-and-Scan”

  1. we have something in the office that allows you to stack a 20 + page document – like a nice xerox machine, it scans the pages one at a time – maybe there is something like that for photos???

  2. Dubber says:

    There seem to be up to 50-page document feeder scanners, but they’re designed for exactly that. Some of them can even handle maybe 20 or 30 photos, though not like this.

    I want something I can stack a pile of, say, 300 photos in and just walk away.

  3. Definitely a common situation – I was discussing this with my grandparents the other day. They have literally 1000s of prints they’d like to scan.

    The only solutions I’ve found are photo scanning services, which seem to cost about 10p/print or, as you say, scanners with feeders that accept 20-30 prints, like this one.

    I’d be quite tempted to get hold of one of those scanners and see whether it’d be possible to modify the feeder, I can’t imagine it’d be rocket science. If you could do it so it works reliably there’d definitely be a significant market there.

  4. Loving this series of posts, some truly inspirational ideas.

    I can’t help but think that this idea must have been hit on before by some of the big photo/printing organisations and therefore I wonder if they’ve tried and failed?

    Copiers that auto feed standard, clean, crisp, unfolded A4 sheets can have jam issues at the best of time. Photos are thicker, curl, more liable to be warped and damaged from years of sitting in box somewhere. If you put a stack of 500 photos in before you went out to work and came home to find it jammed on the fourth photo you would be pretty annoyed.

    It’s a great idea, I just think it may be a case of making a reliable machine without damaging your companies reputation is a risk.

  5. Definitely a major problem, Andy, though I can’t see that it’s insurmountable. How about some contraption that clamps the photo into a kind of mount. You feed 500 photos in, it attempts to separate them out with dividers. You can then visually inspect it, fix any that are stuck together etc. before it starts scanning the batch.

    Either that or just manage expectations somehow and alert the user appropriately when its jammed.

  6. Crystal G says:

    Did I write this post?! I have *also* been dreaming of the very thing you drew and described…in fact, I found your blog in my search for “stacking photo scanner”. If you, or anyone you may hear of, create such a thing I’d pay a pretty penny for it! It’s hard to believe that no one has invented/figured this out yet…I mean, if we can explore space we certainly must be able to invent such a machine! :)

  7. Philly Keith says:

    I’ve been scouring the web for two hours looking for such a product. Then I find your post (awesome blog BTW) thanks for confirming that this does not yet exist…. I’ll buy one too when it comes out!

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