While a student at John Hopkins, Thomas Smith took some off-the-shelf parts and created a motorized arm that can quickly grab images and place them on a scanner. Smith's bot literally sucks one up and places it on a photocopier that scans the back and front every 42 seconds, saving both time and a great deal of money. He soon teamed with the newspaper Afro to digitize their images.
Dubbed Project Gado, over 6,000 pictures are available online and can be viewed and/or purchased here. With a grant from the Abell Foundation, Smith built a second open source Gado kit at a cost of about $500.00. He is hoping that other publishers, libraries or other companies with photos to convert will invest.