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Has anyone ever built an 'antishredder', to put those torn pieces of paper together again?
Cheap shredders produce such wide strips that I am sure that someone with a lot of patience could put them together like a jigsaw puzzle. Could a machine do it? If the strips were manually placed between 2 sheets of Perspex and scanned into a computer then the software to fit them together should not be that difficult to write. For that matter, a robot capable of grabbing the strips and passing them onto the scanner should be possible.
Of course, the government agencies most likely to develop an anti shredder thrive on secrecy, so if no definite answer can be found, I would be like to hear any rumours, or even mentions in fiction. I can’t be the only person to think this thought!
asked in engineering, computer, society



jimmygyuma answers:

http://www.sce.carleton.ca/courses/sysc-4907/webforms/faculty/proposalmain.php?p...


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Aiming4777 answers:

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Paper_shredder&oldid=186138060#Uns...

Shredded documents can be reassembled manually. After the Iranian Revolution and the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, Iranians enlisted local carpet weavers who reconstructed the pieces by hand. The recovered documents would be later released by the Iranian regime in a series of books called "Documents from the US espionage Den". This led directly to the introduction of ‘cross cutting’. The US government subsequently improved its shredding techniques, by adding pulverizing, pulping, and chemical decomposition.

Modern computer technology considerably speeds up the process of reassembling shredded documents. The strips are scanned on both sides, and then the computer determines how the strips should be put together. Robert Johnson of the National Association for Information Destruction, has stated that there is a huge demand for document reconstruction. Several companies offer commercial document reconstruction services.

For maximum security, documents should be shredded so that the words of the document go through the shredder horizontally (i.e. perpendicular to the blades). Many of the documents in the Enron accountancy scandal were fed through the shredder the “wrong way”, making them easier to reassemble.

There is an effort underway to recover the shredded archives of the Stasi, the East German secret police. There are "millions of shreds of paper that panicked Stasi officials threw into garbage bags during the regime's final days in the fall of 1989". It took three dozen people six years to reconstruct 300 of the 16,000 bags so the German government is looking at modern computerized methods of reconstruction. Further details can be found at this link: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9803E3D7123CF934A25754C0A9659C8B6...


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Poindexter answers:

There are machines that work exactly as you surmised, they scan the paper and then try to puzzle it together electronically. Such methods are apparently being employed by the so-called Gauck Behörde in Germany which investigates Stasi crimes and history.


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scouter4 answers:

Sellotape


Supplement from 09/12/2008 08:02pm:

Glue?


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