does anybody.jpeg Received the following email from Rhoda. Can anyone help?

As editor of Tele-Read, maybe you can help us with a technology request. My friend’s grandson is bright, loves to read, but doesn’t speak and lacks the fine motor skill to turn pages on his iPad book reader. Is there any software or device that could turn the pages for him?

Could you also ask if they know of an input device, do they know how a non-technical person would hook the input device to the iPad or computer?


  1. I don’t know of any sorry. I can say though that iBooks and Kindle application does work with a tap to the screen for page turning. The only problem is the tap needs to be in a specific area of the screen to work. If the book is a pdf Goodreader app has an experimental feature where you can just tap anywhere and the page turns. I don’t know of any that are voice activated. I hope this helps some.

  2. Paul – My young Engineer inventor friend here in Santa Barbara is looking for funding his voice or remote controlled type of page turning device for his Physically Challenged mother’s (and other persons) Kindle reader.

    Please reply if you have any ideas.

    Many thanks

  3. Hi Paul,

    I’m a graduate student at Berkeley and I’ve been working on a project that can turn pages on touch screen devices. I’ve always wanted to help make the world a little bit better for everyone, and I have a fair amount of expertise in Human-Computer Interaction.

    If you’re interested in it, please give me an email at: asianslike [at]


  4. You probably want to do more than turning pages, you need to control the whole book navigation, no? Since there is no standard alternate UI interface on the iPad that could be used to intercept the touchscreen, I do not see a straightforward way to achieve that.
    I would go for one of the following ways, depending in your needs:

    a) Write a special application for the iPad. That means a combination of a text browser with an external input device (for instance, a bluetooth keyboard, which you modify mechanically). However, you will not only need to bring knowledge on iOS programming to the table, but also need to convert your documents (depending on the input format and DRM).

    b) Use a touch pen on a pivoting arm. Perhaps this is sufficient to support your user’s input movements sufficiently; you could also use a pantograph like mechanism. That is not difficult to build but will still require some skill, and whether it is useful really depends on your particular case.

    c) Do not use an iPad. It is straightforward and cheap to modify a (non-touch) Kindle by soldering external switches to the page turning and menu buttons. It is likewise quite simple and cheap to do the same for a PC.

  5. Hi Joscha and Paul,

    There are many ways to do many things, and I thank you for the suggestions! Many of them seem impractical, though, and I’ve figured out a way to flip pages from afar with limited effort. It can be accomplished in a variety of ways, too! You don’t necessarily need to mechanically modify anything.

    I would love to help anybody that needs this! I think it could help everybody, whether disabled or just trying to enjoy a book while lying down.

    Please email me if anyone is interested: asianslike [at] gmail [dot] com
    It’s a new process i’m researching, so please email me and I will be able to help you. I can also help invent new gadgets to fit other needs as well.


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