duPont Hospital for Children and the University of Delaware
Vol. 2, No. 1 -- Fall 1996

Pageturner Design Team

By Mike Lessig

During the last several meetings, the group has viewed and discussed prototypes designed by the engineers at ASEL. These prototypes are rough mockups of particular page turning concepts being investigated to find out the benefits and problems of each concept.

In the last issue of The Innovator, we mentioned the idea of using a roller-suction combination. A prototype of this idea was put together as a vacuum wand which received its suction power from an old broom vacuum with two rollers. It was controlled by a dimmer switch. The vacuum wand was able to lift pages but also needs to be able to turn pages to be effective. The rollers can be used to turn a large number of pages at one time but can be unreliable. Overall, the design team felt that this concept has some merit but the problems involved were a hurdle to overcome.

Next, we looked at a copying machine to see how the machine can pull the top page into the machine for use while the other pages stayed in the tray. With this concept in mind, a corner clipólike that of a copying machineówas made with a velcro edge that was able to separate pages so they could be turned. The problem with this idea is that the paper in a copy machine is loose, while a book has a binding which restricts the movement of the paper. This makes this concept much harder to use for turning pages in books, etc.

Another idea discussed was using a solenoid (a mechanical movement device such as a lock on a car door) to simulate someone pushing their finger across a page to separate and turn it. A solenoid operated by air pressure was mounted on an angled clamp at the corner of a book to test this theory. The angle of the clamp had to be adjusted depending on where the book was opened. The clamp had to have enough contact with the page to generate friction to separate the pages.

At this point, the group talked about the different types of books that the page turning device must be able to handle and also discussed the various problems involved in holding, separating, and turning pages. A group of 10 books were tested by measuring their dimensions and describing the thickness of their covers, the consistency of their pages and the types of binding and page edges. The page turning process was broken down into three components: holding, separating, and turning. The holding component is affected by the book size, corners of the book, and the binding tension. It cannot block the view of the reader. The separating function must be: bidirectional, able to separate one page or any pages, and able to detect and recover from errors. Turning must account for the hump in the book, the size of the book, and be bidirectional. Finally, the turned page must be held in place.

For more information, check out the Pageturner Design Team Home Page.