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Old 04-12-2011, 09:27 AM   #1
arnicas
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USB device to turn the page

You folks seem like the experts for this question. I'd like to make (or get help making) a small external usb-connected external device to turn the pages. There are a few use cases for this, and you can see them pop up in various forums and threads around the net - but to recap:

1) People with arm injuries or pain: folks who do too much typing, or hurt their elbows, or people with Rheumatoid Arthritis - holding the Kindle with a crooked arm is painful or becomes painful after a long time.
2) Musicians apparently want to control page turns on their DX for music reading -- with, say, a foot control. (This is not my main goal now.)
3) People reading in bed who don't want to move their arms from the warm covers to turn the page (seriously, someone posted this)
4) Treadmill use. It's much easier if your arms are free to move, but okay to be holding a small wired device.

The question is, can you send a page turn event over the usb connector from, say, a mouse? It does NOT have to be fancy, just forward-and-backward buttons. It should not disable the use of the regular buttons on the Kindle, either, just work in tandem.

And the final question - could it work with any Kindle 3, or does it have to be hacked etc. Ideally this would be something one could offer to a wider audience (say, with Kickstarter funding, if anyone wants to work with me -- or do it themself, I just want the device). So I suppose the fundamental question is, can a page turn event be sent by usb cable device without any other mod to the device itself?
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:03 AM   #2
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No idea about your initial question. I doubt an unhacked Kindle could do it though, just because I presume Kindle have USB locked down, I may be wrong though.

There is a way of getting the Kindle to automatically turn the pages for you - but if you're looking to make money out of it you're out of luck. All you need to do is switch on the audio reader, and adjust the speed until the timing's about right and turn the volume right down. The pages turn themselves, voila!
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:18 PM   #3
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thanks - not about the money

Thanks, Tanga. That's not a bad idea in itself. I'm not looking to make money, so much as to help myself and a bunch of friends with the arm pain or workout problems. I was thinking a limited run of the product for a group of "interested investors."

Anyone know if USB port really is locked down and this is impossible? I'll see if I can reach the Kindle devs if so.
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:31 PM   #4
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how about getting the mic to trigger a page turn?
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Old 04-12-2011, 04:37 PM   #5
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@arnicas,
IMHO, this can be done via Serial line. You need some board with MCU(Atmel..PIC), it will connect to Kindle via COM port and send commands to Kindle console. So you can emulate keyboard pressing. No hacks needed to work.
Someone who have Serial line adapter for Kindle 3, can verify my idea. (My adapter is broken currently)

Last edited by Sir Alex; 04-12-2011 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:49 AM   #6
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Well, here's the way I would think of it:

The USB Device would have to have it's own SSH connection, and it will behave like a computer when connected to a HACKED Kindle. When someone presses the next page button, the SSH command to turn to the next page would be sent.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, this USB Device would be very hard to custom make and as such, would be very bulky. In addition, it would have to have it's own power source. This method is not practical at all.

Perhaps there is another method to do this that I cannot think of :P

Good Luck! I would love this idea to be turned into reality, though it would be very hard.
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:50 AM   #7
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or to make it really clear: USB is a bus that has dedicated host ports. The Kindle does not have a host port. It thus can not drive USB devices, but is itself an USB device.
The Kindle therefore does not have a USB host stack. Thus it can't drive other USB devices on the software side of things, either.

Connecting to the serial port, however, sounds like a viable option. However, you need to program a device for that, it's not as easy as taking existent hardware and mod it so it suddenly is an input device for the Kindle.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:58 AM   #8
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Serial, Huh? Interesting!

Hey all, thanks! I am obviously ignorant of USB specs (thanks hawhill), but this serial idea sounds great, Sir Alex. I'd be rather psyched to try to play with a PIC or other MCU. If anyone wants to communicate off forum about it, email me at this name at gmail.

And if I get anywhere with this, I'll post back about it. Free devices to anyone here if I get one live.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnicas View Post
...

1) People with arm injuries or pain: folks who do too much typing, or hurt their elbows, or people with Rheumatoid Arthritis - holding the Kindle with a crooked arm is painful or becomes painful after a long time.
2) Musicians apparently want to control page turns on their DX for music reading -- with, say, a foot control. (This is not my main goal now.)
3) People reading in bed who don't want to move their arms from the warm covers to turn the page (seriously, someone posted this)
4) Treadmill use. It's much easier if your arms are free to move, but okay to be holding a small wired device.

The question is, can you send a page turn event over the usb connector from, say, a mouse? It does NOT have to be fancy, just forward-and-backward buttons...

So I suppose the fundamental question is, can a page turn event be sent by usb cable device without any other mod to the device itself?
Can you elaborate on how the Kindle will be supported, or held, in your scenarios?

brettlitton's voice activated idea would seem a good candidate but as there's no response to that, does this mean that your primary quest was actually that of control via usb, rather than some other means?
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:58 PM   #10
arnicas
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Voice activation

Mostly it's that I didn't understand it, I should have asked or researched more -- does the Kindle mic receive input, and have a speech recognizer in it? Amazing if so.

In most of the cases I know of with arm pain, people are using book stands (I use one, for instance) and it's the arm crook that's the hard part. Being able to have it on a stand close to your face, but have your arm stretched out (or moving) with a cable or remote device to turn the page would make for a great and more accessible reader.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawhill View Post
Connecting to the serial port, however, sounds like a viable option. However, you need to program a device for that, it's not as easy as taking existent hardware and mod it so it suddenly is an input device for the Kindle.
I agree, see Kindle3 serial line and Kindle 3 serial plug designs. We might have seen more home brew development of the Kindle serial line if software based jail breaking had not removed one of its primary reasons for existing.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:14 PM   #12
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It would be nice to have it even wirelessly. For example with a USB A to Micro B Female / Male Adapter (~ $3) and a normal bluetooth dongle (~ $1).

Regarding voice control, see http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=118480 .
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:25 AM   #13
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Zatakawa, wireless would be awesome, of course. And thanks for that link on the audio control thread, verrrry interesting. I'd prefer it to be a clickable device, personally, but that was certainly an educational thread.

Am I right that the serial port requires you to hack open the case? I couldn't make out from the pics what the actual external access to that was. And I did find a 1.8v serial to USB cable available for sale...
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:33 AM   #14
arnicas
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Oh no, never mind, I missed that picture with the homemade serial plug plugged in on the side. That's where I thought it should be! Hmm, awesome.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:15 PM   #15
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I just started working on pretty much the exact same thing. My dad is a quadriplegic and I was hoping to use a mouth switch (http://conceptusinc.com/tongueswitch.htm) to activate the next/previous page buttons either directly (soldering the switch in parallel on the motherboard) or through a microcontroller. A micro would be able to interpret long or short presses, or even different predetermined sequences of presses, and then activate different buttons. Using the serial port would be ideal if I could issue commands that would mimic any of the buttons, and it would save I/O pins and a lot of soldering. Can anyone provide a list of commands that would activate different buttons? I will be getting the DX tomorrow so I will start playing around with it connected to a pc first, so I'll follow up if I find anything out. I haven't found this information anywhere online yet, so I thought I would post here in the meantime.

Thanks!
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