We all have elderly family members or friends that were subjected to disabilities as they grew older. More often than not, there’s nothing we can do except offer comfort and support instead of a medical miracle. As we grow older, some of us lose our sight, which can seem like the world is coming to a close. We depend on it to do our daily tasks and take it for granted when we have it and feel hopeless when it is gone. The simple task of reading becomes impossible and even though there are audio book readers (Kindle, Nook, Kobo) they often need to be navigated using a touchscreen, which still needs a measure of sight to use.
Willem van der Jagt’s 93-year old grandfather is one of those who have lost his sight and while thinking of things to do, Willem suggested listening to audio books. After realizing the issue of navigation mentioned above, Willem decided to build his own that didn’t require vision to operate. He designed his Audio Book Reader using a Raspberry Pi as the eBook, complete with a host of books stored on the SBC’s RAM. Each book stored also has a corresponding DVD box with an embedded RFID card, which is then scanned by an RFID scanner housed inside the eBook enclosure. The book begins playing when the DVD is placed on top of the box and is navigated using four large buttons on the unit’s face, which includes pause, rewind and two for volume controls. A year has gone by since Willem designed his Audio Book Reader and his grandfather continues to use it daily, in fact, he has since requested music files to be incorporated into the device as well! It may not be a miracle but Willem’s device has opened new doors for his grandfather where physical sight is no longer considered a handicap.
Checkout Willem’s complete project at: https://gist.github.com/wkjagt/814b3f62ea03c7b1a765