Glenn Johnson, an electrical engineer, wanted to help his sister. She has cerebral palsy, which makes it difficult for her to manipulate modern electronics. Glenn’s goal was to modify a Kindle into a gadget his sister could use.
He took the controls from a children’s V.Reader, which has large controls that his sister could use easily. Each silicone button on the V.Reader has two wires attached. He routed those wires into the Kindle’s interface board. The result is a Kindle that can be manipulated by his sister. He calls his gadget the Frankenkindle.
This is what your completed Frankenkindle will look like.
To program the Teensy++ board, you'll need the Arduino software, as well as a utility to program the Teensy itself.
This is a great story. The asthetics of the design might make the original Kindle designers and engineers cringe, but the sentiment and creativity is awesome. I wholeheartedly agree that Amazon and all of the other tablet vendors should do something, whether it's a special design or a special add-on, that can modify their products to better suit the needs of the visually impaired or others who might have trouble navigating traditional products.
This is a shameless plug for another Kindle reader solution for someone that cannot use their hands. PageBot is a Kindle accessory that allows one to turn pages by actuating a special switch. Since this is a product we couldn't hack into the Kindle, so we chose to make a universal mount with integrated mechanical actuators to actually press the next and previous page buttons -- short press for next and long press for previous. Yes, it seems silly to do it this way, but Amazon hasn't shown any interest in allowing/providing electronic access. Of course, if one has a computer with special access hardware they can use the free Kindle app.
Don't keep up on these devices enough to know, so have to ask: Where exactly, if at all, is Apple, et al on add-ons for disabled access to their products? To me, nowhere to be seen or priced out of the reach of most of us, thus the need for a homebuilt. Way to go Glenn!
This solution points out the need for what, for want of a better phrase, I'd call consumer-ready large-type e-Readers. The Kindle actually does allow users to make the font larger, but I guess what I'm talking about is something that will be amenable to people who aren't quite so agile at using tiny keys, as is the case with the user for which this project was made.
Congrats on a practical, useful adaption of a product that solves an ergonomic anomoloy. It refreshing to see something other than turbo powered salad spinners and the like. This is an opportunity for Amazon to sell an auxillary control device that links to the Kindle via bluetooth or some other interface. Good job!
The final showdown is under way in our first-ever Gadget Freak of the Year contest. Who will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show? It's up to you, dear readers, to tell us.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.