“Multi Spectral Document Imaging - Made Easy”


There were a large number of almost completely ruined ancient papyri In the Classics Department at Oxford University. The classicists were keen to find a method that could allow them to read texts from those seemingly unreadable but priceless documents.

Over the past decade a research group of Dr Dirk Obbink, a lecturer in papyrology and Greek literature, has been successfully applying multispectral imaging (MSI) technique (which was originally developed by America’s space agency, NASA) to such degraded manuscripts and managed to recover and transcribe many texts that couldn’t be read by any other scientific means.

The impressive results of Dr Obbink’s team were ensured by the use of very expensive, the best available in the world multispectral imaging equipment. However it still had several shortcomings which made the imaging process rather difficult. It had to be located in a darkroom; only a skilled person was able to operate it, besides it was large and heavy.

In spring 2009 Dr Alexander Kovalchuk, a physicist who was working in Dr Obbink’s team improving the MSI technique and was closely familiar with the limitations of the available at that time MSI cameras, invented an original multispectral imaging device that combined in itself two already well established but never being used together before technologies – a flat bed image scanner and multispectral imaging.

Isis Innovation recognised the potential of this invention and facilitated application for a patent in autumn 2009. In February 2010 Isis awarded a UCSF grant that allowed Dr Kovalchuk to work full time on developing the optical, electronic and mechanical systems and the overall design of the new multispectral flatbed scanner. UCSF grant also provided funds both for purchasing equipment and materials necessary for building alpha and beta prototypes of this device. Dr Benjamin Weaver’s work on development of the software required for testing the alpha prototype was also funded by UCSF grant.

In January 2011 The prototypes were demonstrated to a Chinese investor who was impressed with this invention and was willing to invest the capital necessary for starting commercial manufacture of the multispectral scanner.

As a result of the teamwork between Isis Innovation, Mike Broderick, now a CEO of the company, Dr Kovalchuk and Dr Obbink the new spin-out company – Oxford Multi Spectral Limited – was established in August 2011.

Oxford Multi Spectral Ltd

Litlington, Herts, UK, SG8 0SS

Tel: +44 (0)1865 989398

 E-mail : info@oxfordmultispectral.com

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