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Old 04-16-2011, 11:24 PM   #1
eewestcoaster
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Question I'm developing an alternate keyboard for disabled users, and have questions.

I'm trying to create an alternate keyboard for the Kindle 3 for disabled individuals who might not be able to use the standard factory keyboard. The main keypad is routed to the motherboard through a large 20-pin connector. The dedicated page turn buttons however, are routed to the motherboard through a painfully tiny 6-pin connector, which has proven especially difficult to intercept. I've started a blog for the project, where you can see pictures of what I'm trying to do if you're interested.

I have been able to map all the signals routed through the 20-pin connector, which allows me to mimic all the basic functionality of the main keypad. This actually works very well, except for one thing: I can't turn an individual page.

I can mimic all the buttons on the front panel, which means I have control over the 5-way keypad and all the typing functions. This allows me to make notes and select things from menus, but the 5-way only allows you to jump to the next chapter - it won't turn a single page.

I've tried all the obvious combinations and searched every forum post I could find, but have come up dry. I'm hoping you guys can help. Do you know of any way to turn a single page using only the buttons on the main keypad?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:38 AM   #2
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Yes, but it involves hacking the Kindle I'm afraid. The Launchpad crew have managed to turn the page using shift, then space.
How to install launchpad:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97636
How to make page turns (kranu's post, top of page):
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...t=97636&page=9

What's the blog? There is a guy looking to do page turns for a friend who doesn't have much small muscle control who'd probably be interested in working with you on / using something like this.

Last edited by Tanga; 04-17-2011 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 04-18-2011, 03:49 PM   #3
Robar46
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Is this the blog: http://breadboardconfessions.blogspot.com/ ?

I'm actually working on something similar for my dad who is a quadriplegic. I'm going to be trying to use a tongue switch to operate a Kindle DX (graphite). It should be getting delivered today, so I'm excited to take it apart and start playing around with it. I'm going to see if I can communicate with it through the serial port, which is also accessible on the Kindle 3 (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=96442). I'm planning to use a microcontroller to interpret long and short presses, or even different sequences, to activate different functions (next/previous page and wake-up for now). My fall back is to try to solder directly to the buttons, but from your experience it looks like that might be more of a challenge than I had thought. I'll be checking in on your blog to see how things are going and I'll let you know if I discover anything that may be useful to you.

Cheers, and good luck!
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:58 AM   #4
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Much as I like an electronic solution for things, sometimes it's more expedient to have a simpler, mechanical solution. The suggestion for a relay in the other USB thread would be ok if a suitable relay could be found.

So, I've put this little assembly together, & done the unthinkable & actually tested it for a while reading. I used my forehead & then my mouth & both worked ok, but, apart from the usual aches & pains, I'm relatively able bodied so I've no idea of course if such an assembly is usable by your Dad (or anyone else needing an alternative page forward) but it might be worth a try?

The thin dual walled polycarbonate sheet underneath my Kindle is just to take up the space between the plastic bracket & K3 base so the bracket is a snug fit.

An additional right angled bracket could be attached adjacent to the hole over the "page back" switch, & the knitting needle, er, I mean "activating mechanism" pulled out & reinserted into the other bracket as necessary. I presume the "forward page" would be the most frequently used?

I borrowed one of my wife's knitting needles, & I really wanted to cut off the tapered end but it's the only size she has so I decided discretion was the better part of valour here

Hope this gives you some ideas.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:48 AM   #5
eewestcoaster
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Yeah, http://breadboardconfessions.blogspot.com/ is the blog I set up for this project.

Thanks to the posts on this forum thread I was able to Jailbreak the Kindle, install Launchpad and set up the page turn script. I thought I could just remap the button signals but then I found exactly the post that Tanga linked to and was able to turn the pages that way. Great minds think alike!

My initial thought was to solder to the buttons but they're WAY too small for that, and they seem to be covered by some sort of plastic film that would need to be cut away (and I'm not sure about corrosion, etc). Also, the edge-mounted page turn keys are routed through a second, much smaller connector that I can't solder to. Scratch that - i can solder the connector (barely), I just can't get it to stick to the board with any sort of strength. As soon as I pressed the cable into the connector, it popped off the board.

So, I ended up using Launchpad to turn the page directly from the main keypad, which uses the larger 20-pin connector. I broke it out to a breadboard and used some simple tactile switches to mimic the key press event, and everything is shiny.

I will need a microcontroller to handle the timing and sequencing of the multiple key presses. I want the user (my sister in this case, but it could just as easily be Robar46's dad) to only have to actuate their button of choice once, and the system to take it from there. I think I'll use the Teensy++ I've got laying around from a previous project. Along with some simple multiplexers to handle the actual switch closures, I should be off and running.

Thanks again for all the support - I couldn't have done it without you guys. Check the blog, I'll be updating it as the project (and a couple others I've got brewing) come along.
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:35 AM   #6
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I just looked at your blog. You do know you can change the launchpad timing? I'm not sure how, but I'm pretty sure it's pretty user accessible.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:03 PM   #7
eewestcoaster
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Yeah, I need to look at that. I was so stoked at just getting it to work that I didn't dig any deeper at the time.
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:54 PM   #8
eewestcoaster
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FYI - if you guys are interested, I finally got it to work.

It's far from complete, but the concept has been proven. Thanks in large part to Launchpad, it's now possible to control a Kindle from an external keypad.

http://breadboardconfessions.blogspot.com/

Thanks for all your help!
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:36 AM   #9
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Here's a posh version of my DIY effort described previously. I suspect it may be a tad dearer

http://orin.com/go/pagebot/
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