London: A new e-reader prototype device called ‘Paranga’ allows users to physically turn pages, just like they would do in an actual book.
Its makers say that ‘Paranga’ is aimed at children and the elderly because it looks and feels more like a real book, making it easier to understand and control.
Readers can flip the pages infinitely to peruse a whole e-book and find a single page.
The current page-turning animations on iPads and e-readers don’t replace the actual feel of turning pages that e-book holdouts seek.
To bridge the gap, this new prototype device looks and behaves more like the paper version, allowing the user to physically flip the page.
“E-books have grown in popularity, but we think they lost the physical features that real books have,” Discovery News quoted Yuichi Itoh, an associate professor at Osaka University and project manager for ‘Paranga’, as saying.
Inspired by flipbooks, the device has two facing parts resembling an open-faced book. Page turning is controlled on the right-hand side, which is made from a flexible rubber sheet covered in spongy cloth.
Along the sheet’s edge, a narrow cylindrical roller with page-like grooves connects to sensors inside the device.
The left side of the device has a small LCD monitor that displays content, including animations and text. As the user moves a thumb along the roller, the system is programmed so that the corresponding pages will turn on the monitor.
A ‘bend’ sensor along the center of the sheet detects flexing, so the more the rubber sheet is bent, the faster the pages will turn on the monitor - just like in a paper book.
However, it will take some time before the prototype can be commercialized, as cost is a major issue.
It was made for about 260 dollars, including the monitor. Itoh suggested that turning Paranga into an attachment that connects to a tablet device through Bluetooth could bring the price down to under 100 dollars.
The team is working on improving the page-flipping mechanism’s accuracy.