Circuit Board X-Rays

October 10th, 2006 by Adam

This is a follow up to the entry about the electrical shorts in the printed circuit boards last week.

After a few days of “beating [his] head against the wall”, Brian Piquette from Synapse took both the working and non-working circuit boards back to the manufacturer to get them X-Rayed.

The X-Ray revealed solder bridges which caused the short circuits and the manufacturer was able to fix most of the boards in a few hours. The photos below show the solder bridges circled.

Most of the shorts were under the board-to-board connectors and it was determined that the problems were a result of a manufacturing problem, not a design problem.

The manufacturer is going to X-Ray all future boards before delivery to confirm that the manufacturing process is now turning out good boards.


Falstaff Software

August 29th, 2006 by Team Member

SpencerHi, This is Spencer Bliven. I’m a summer intern/part-time software engineer at Exbiblio. I thought I’d let you know about a part of Falstaff that I’ve been working on.

As the first hardware comes together, we on the software side have been hurrying to make sure that drivers and applications are in place so that the hardware can actually do something when it is finished.

There are a number of steps to go from a scan on the pen to text on your screen. First, the data must be transfered to your computer over USB. This can either happen right when you scan, if the pen is connected, or it can happen later when you next connect the pen to the computer.

The scans work by taking a series of small images as you drag the pen across the paper.

Best Conditions0000 Best Conditions0001 Best Conditions0002 Best Conditions0003 Best Conditions0004

This can be thought of as a video of what the pen sees, although it is at a very low frame rate. The next step towards extracting text is to stitch the small overlapping frames into one large image. We humorously call this process ‘storting,’ defined as the reverse of ‘distorting.’

David Warman has written a good program that takes the rotate, skewed, blotchy images we get from the pen and ‘storts’ them into a single image. The basic principle is the same as using Photoshop to stitch together several photos to form a panorama.


After a single image has been produced we perform OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to convert it into text. This text is finally sent to the Life Library application as a capture: every pose, v

By Spencer Bliven


August 24th, 2006 by Hugh

Here’s an interesting thought:

Hyperwords™ allows you to interact with all the words on the web, not just links.

Sounds familiar? Exbiblio is making all text into potential hyperlinks. It goes about it in a different way from Hyperwords, but it’s interesting to see that others are thinking along the same lines.

Hyperwords comes as a free extension to the Firefox Browser. All you have to do is block some text on the webpage, and a menu presents you with a cornucopia of Web 2.0 options – Search, Email, Wikipedia,, Amazon, ebay, Google Maps, blog… All these and more are available with just one click. What’s very nice is that you can use it to copy and paste text and a URL all in one go.

Many thanks to Francisco, a regular visitor to this blog, for pointing this out. Here’s a short YouTube video about Hyperwords.

Hardware Demo at Company Lunch

August 2nd, 2006 by Adam

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Video of Kibble Software

July 27th, 2006 by Adam

Here is a time-lapse video (no sound) of myself using our prototype Kibble software. I am doing the following:

  • Reading a printed Word document
  • Selecting key phrases using a CPen 20 pen scanner
  • (The phrases I scan are getting added to my life library)
  • Adding note annotations to each scan
  • Uploading the scans to a web server using a key code and then e-mailing the key code to the document’s author so that he can view my comments
  • I am then attaching the digital version of the Word document to the scans in my library by dragging the document icon onto the library entry (this happens automatically in newer versions)
  • When I click on a scan, Kibble is launching the digital version of the document on my hard drive and highlighting the portion of text that I captured with the CPen.


July 27th, 2006 by Adam

Kibble DishCurrently at Exbiblio, the majority of the team is working on a project we call “Kibble” as in, eating your own dog food. Kibble is really a collection of projects involving use cases, design, hardware prototyping, and software prototyping.

When I say prototyping, what I really mean is hacking. We often implement features just one or two days after the design team requests them!.

The goal of Kibble is to prove to ourselves, investors, and eventually partners, that we can apply our technology in ways that are useful in real-world applications.

I’m part of the team that is rapidly implementing a Mac OS X application that stores, organizes, and provides actions based on text fragments captured out of printed materials using handheld scanners. Kibble also has a web component for sharing and accessing text captures from the web. We are using the CPen 20 to do the text captures for now, though we are also working on a prototype of a next generation line-by-line scanner.