For the sake of completeness (OK, pedantry) there is another funded optical project in the UK, working closely with Carl Haber et al, concentrating on 3D imaging of cylinders. They currently have 2 different websites: and 


Will Prentice
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-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of David Seubert
Sent: 22 March 2006 06:23
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] back to the future, forward to the past

There are several non-contact/optical research projects (not commercial 
products like the ELP) that I know of for grooved media:

1) Carl Haber and colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley Lab are using 2-D and 
3-D imaging to digitally capture groove modulation at high resolution 
and then extract the audio signal. This has been discussed on this list 
before and details are available here:

2) The Laboratory of Metrology at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de 
Lausanne (Switzerland) is developing an optical turntable using fiber 
optics to play back discs:

3) Researchers at the Ecole d'Ingénieurs de Fribourg (Switzerland) have 
been creating analog images of discs with high contrast film (like 
microfilm or photoduplication film) and then digitizing the image and 
extracting the groove modulations from the image. They presented at JTS 
2004 and have published in the IASA Journal.

4) Syracuse University's Radius Project has been developing laser 
playback for cylinders. They published a research report in First Monday 
a couple of years ago:

5) There was a project in Ukraine for optical playback of cylinders in 
the mid-1990s that I read about in some optics journal, but I don't 
think I could track down citation information without quite a bit of 
effort. I think this is the same project:

My personal opinion is that there are two potential outcomes of this 
research. Projects such as Haber's may be useful for extracting 
information from unique/fragile/damaged media that should not be played 
by contact methods because conventional playback would be impossible or 
damage would be permanent and catastrophic. The second possible use 
(perhaps for Haber's and the second Swiss group's research), would be 
for mass digitization projects where images could be quickly captured 
assembly-line style and then later processed to retrieve the audio 
signal, eliminating the need for a technician sitting and watching the 
record spin round and round and round in real time.

David Seubert

Tom Fine wrote:

> Wasn't someone working on software that you would "play" a scan of a 
> grooved disk? Seems like if such a thing ever got perfected, any 
> decent letter-sized scanner could do 78 disks.
> I for one would volunteer to be part of a "process community," where 
> someone like Steven would e-mail high-rez scans around and thus spread 
> the complex and time-consuming computer processing around. Jazz 78's 
> only, please. I see no need to do this with the large portion of 78's 
> already professionally reissued on CD's. But the obscure ones are a 
> different story.
> -- Tom Fine

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