Head or Sip and Puff Page Turner

This design challenge came from @reginask

Message:
Nature of Disability
Quadriplegia from Multiple Sclerosis.

Describe
Client likes to read and has a vast library. She is unable to use her arms/hands and would like a device that allows her to flip the pages of a book herself. She has slight movement of the head so she could press on something with her chin or sip and puff.

1 Like

Hello,
Here is a commercial solution that could be controlled by a sip and puff switch, though it has to be set up 10 pages at a time. It costs 220 USD (without the switch) and doesn’t get great reviews.

I did a quick search of the forum and found this thread
which mentions the existence of an electronic page turner design, but I couldn’t find the plans.

Here’s a good video of a page turning device that someone made. There are actually lots of videos of this type of page turner. I like the design of the motorized wheel, “flipper finger” and holding clamp fingers because the device doesn’t have to be manually set up every 10 pages like the commercial option. It would have to be made adjustable to different sized books.
The chin switch or sip and puff switch would just be an existing design connected to the microcontroller that controls the servos of the page turner.

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Hi Benjamin,
This is the best design I’ve seen so far. Where are you located? Is it possible to make something like the last link a reality with a sip and puff or a chin attachment?
Thank you so much!
Terri Sleeva

Hi Terri,

I’m located in Oregon, though I’m willing to mail a device to you.

I will try my best to make a page turner, but I can’t promise it will work as well as in the video. It will be harder to make a device that can turn a variety of page sizes and textures than a device that turns the pages in the middle of a large textbook. I don’t want to promise perfect reliability as even in the video a person smooths down a page.

That being said, I think this is an important project and even if the device sometimes needs help it would still provide some independence.

I’ve started working on a prototype page turner to help me figure out how one works and then I’ll 3d print a more durable final version.

Some questions I have for you:
Is there a preference between a chin switch and a sip and puff switch?
Is it ok for the device to only turn pages from right to left?
Can the page turner be plugged into a power outlet or is it better for it to have batteries?

Benjamin

2 Likes

Thank you Benjamin! I really didn’t believe that something could be invented. Answers to questions:
A chin switch is preferable.
Pages could be turned from left to right only.
A power outlet should be used.

Thanks again,
Terri Sleeva at (306) 545-7378

It probably makes sense to provide a 3.5 mm jack for the activating the device so it can be used with whatever switch the user prefers.

Hi Terri,

I’ve been working on the page turner with @bphelps2521 and @joshua-8, and we wanted to give you a quick update on this project.

We tested using a rubber wheel or arm to turn a page by “swiping” or rolling across it like in the videos we found. It worked around 95% of the time on some newer books, but it had much lower reliability on others. We’re thinking the reliability of the page turning needs to be high for the device to be useful.

We found that we can much more reliably get a single page if we lift and “peel” the top page instead of sliding it against the other pages to separate it.

We prototyped “peeling” pages with a suction, and with a removable paper-safe adhesive.

Here’s a link to a paper on a page turner that uses an adhesive.

Unlike the suction, the adhesive would sometimes need to be replaced, but it’s quieter, simpler, and more reliable.

A couple questions:

  • Would the client be okay with a paper-safe removable adhesive being used on her books? If no, we can try to build a suction-based system, however this was presenting design challenges that we’re not sure how to work around.
  • Should we provide a chin switch, or does the client have her own? Either way, we will provide a 3.5mm jack so it can be easily switched out if her preference changes.