duPont Hospital for Children and the University of Delaware
Vol. 2, No. 2 -- Winter/Spring 1997

Pageturner Design Team

By Mike Lessig

The Pageturner Design Team is now concentrating its efforts on finding a blowing device to accomplish the tasks of separating and turning pages. It is hoped that using blowing air will separate and turn pages, while causing little or no wear and tear on the reading material. Blowing air also seems to be the most effective method tried to this point.

In the previous issue of Design Team Update, we discussed the idea of using an "air knife" as the device which distributes the air across the pages. The "air knife" was designed as a thin rectangular plexiglass tube with a narrow slit on one side for the air to pass through. It was found that this "knife" could turn one or more pages with the air pressure set low and the angle of air flow adjustable. A book with thin pages was set on our book stand, and, at a certain angle, the air knife was able to turn pages. But at other angles it could only separate pages. A book with thicker pages was attempted in the same way but the air pressure had to be increased in order for the air knife to work properly.

At this point, the group reviewed three different air knife designs. The first design which was also the smallest was able to turn pages slowly. The second and third designs had difficulty turning pages at low pressure but were more successful at higher pressures. The problem with the air knife is that air comes only out of the center of the slit. In order for the aerodynamics to be correct, the air should spread out evenly over the entire opening. This was corrected by blocking the center of the slit so that air is spread out more evenly.

The design team turned its attention to the idea of a matrix, which is a set of variables studied in a systemic way, to parameterize the factors that influence performance.

A test bed has been proposed to experiment with several of these factors. The test bed would check the volume of air, the area of blowing air, the bookholder, and a variety of designs for the lifter head and the lifter arm.

In future meetings, the design team will use the test bed to run experiments on a variety of books and other reading materials. It is hoped that this will provide the necessary information to make decisions on how the pageturner will look and operate.

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