"As an ageing record spins untouched by the spokes of a gramophone at the Roja Muthiah Research Library, M.K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar's timeless song Un Azhagai Kaana from the movie Thiruneelakantar is converted into 2-d black and white images by a device called IRENE, preserving it for posterity.
Other than the Library of Congress in the United States, Roja Muthiah Research Library is the only institution that has IRENE (Image Reconstruct Erase Noise Etc), an ingenious device that helps in archiving audio content of old records without scratching or even touching the record, says G. Sundar, director of the library.
IRENE, which reached the library two weeks ago, has just been set up, and will help the library archive audio content from records which are too fragile to be played with a conventional player or are deteriorating. “A high-end camera captures images of the grooves as the record is rotating. The software acts as a virtual needle by detecting the edges of the grooves. These images are then converted into sound files,” he says."