The client is in a care home but was unable to read due to a hand tremor. Page turners for paper books are available
but they are complex, and very expensive (£1500-£2000 typically for commercial products) and/or difficult to make. In a care-home
environment, there were concerns over the effort needed to setup and maintain such readers even if they could be purchased.
(electronic format books, purchased online like downloaded music) are growing in popularity and sold by the likes of Waterstones and
Amazon. Using a laptop in conjunction with voice recognition to turn the pages of an ebook was a possibility, but again, not
particularly suited to a care home environment where the machine would have to be looked after by care workers.
built ebook readers have been around for a while now, and are very easy to use and have a paper white display making them easier on
the eyes than laptops. The Sony PRS505 pictured is typical of these devices (priced around £200) but has fiddly little buttons which
would have been impossible for the client to use. However, the problem was solved through the creation of a purpose built stand
incorporating electrically assisted "fingers" to press the page forward/back buttons.
The "fingers" are operated by two 12VDC
solenoids mounted in a box behind the white panel, and linked to a separate control box with two large and sensitive switches which
the client found easy to press. This approach lends itself to other methods of actuation (blow switches, foot switches etc. in the
future). The fingers are fitted with nylon fine-adjusting screws which press the buttons.
As the PRS505 remembers the page you
were on when it is switched off, it is very simple for carers to setup on a day-to-day basis. i.e. it is simply a case of clamping
the reader to (say) an over-bed table, and switching it on. The stand is adjustable for height and tilt for comfort.
construction notes and additional photos are available in PDF format here.
Harrogate and Ripon Group