E-Reader No Different Than a Book!

There is no replacement to a 'page-turning' book, it is said. E-readers are still, yet another gadget. There are page turning animations on e-readers which bridge the gap somewhat, but it's still not the same thing.

Ebook readers
Image courtesy: flickr

A new prototype device called 'Paranga' has been developed at Osaka University which enables readers to actually turn the pages physically when reading on it. Associate Professor at Osaka University and this project's manager Yuichi Itoh said, "E-books have grown in popularity, but we think they lost the physical features that real books have." This device is the result of a collaboration between Osaka University and alumni of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The device has two parts that face each other and looks like an open book. The action of page turning can be done from the right hand side which is designed as a rubber sheet and covered with a soft spongy cloth for comfort. Along the edge of the 'paper', there is a cylindrical roller which is connected to the device's sensors. The left hand side is an LCD monitor on which the content that is being read is displayed. The content is both textual, graphic and animated.

The user needs to move his/her thumb along the cylindrical roller and this will turn the pages on the device. There is another sensor on the device called the 'bend sensor' and this enables the user to turn pages faster in proportion to the extent of bending.

Itoh also said, "Paranga also allows users to flip pages infinitely and in order. That could be particularly helpful when someone wants to rapidly peruse a book to find a particular page." The device isn't really aimed to challenge current e-readers. This device is designed to be a more interactive reading experience especially for the children and the elderly.

One of the issues is cost, which the team is working hard to bring down. Itoh believes that using Bluetooht to connect Paranga to tablet devices can easily bring down the cost to under $100 and within reach of the masses.

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