Page Turner is a motorized device consisting of a series of fabric pages wrapped in tinfoil that simulates pages turning in a book.
I have become obsessed with the physical form of the book, as we begin to consume books and texts on different size screens on many different devices. A physical book has a front cover, a back cover and a bunch of pages with some content on them in between the covers. Pages get turned, covers open and shut. That's about it.
I have been making sewn books for a while, and this summer I decided to make a motorized book while at ITP summer camp. I love working with servo motors and servo-motors/pages-that-turn seemed a natural fit. (Those new to servos- they have a shaft that can be easily set to a specified position, they often have 180 degrees of motion, kind of like the pages of a book.)
I drew a few sketches of how I would like this to look. I decided to use 8 motors. My original plan was to make the prototype book and a stand to attach the servos out of cardboard.
Luckily I found I had a box of servo motors left over from an old project. I had very little experience using the Arduino prototyping platform, but I had used a number of other microcontrollers. The stability and flexibility of the platform made it a pleasure to learn.
There's not really a lot to say about the programming, I used the Arduino Servo Library. First I created a loop that turned the motor shafts to replicate the movement of opening the book, turning each page, then closing all pages.
I planned to attach the pages to the motors through levers of some sort. I considered using metal or wood, tested them out, decided on wood, then decided to make the levers curved, since I had access to the ITP shop and bandsaw.
When I attached all the levers to my motors and attached the motors to the stand, I decided that I wanted to use a potentiometer with a knob to turn the pages. My cardboard book didn't really work with this design anymore. I adjusted the programming, and I also started to think about what type of material I would like to use for the book.
I made the book out of tinfoil and fabric, layering the materials together. I embroidered and appliqued the pages of the book, then sewed up the pages into the cover. The tinfoil gave a little structure to the book, the fabric made it more flexible. I got a little carried away with the embroidery, overdoing seemed necessary to integrate the look of the thing. I also made little tabs to hang from the levers. After the whole thing was sewn together, I made a little wire framework for the back.
The next step was to make a wooden stand to replace the one I had made out of cardboard. I built it with a removable back so I could place the Arduino inside it. After building the stand, I primed it and then covered it in copper leaf. I primed and silver leafed the levers attached to the motors. I also made a little box for the potentiometer.
I plan to make more Page Turners, using various fabrics and materials, changing sizes of motors, speed of turns, length and width of pages. I would like to create at least one that has many more motors, 32 seems like a good number.
Other plans- control by a phone or other mobile device, from a remote location. I would like to incorporate multiple small screens, video and animation content could be controlled remotely. Also, I plan to create embroidered flat books that incorporate LEDs and small motors within the pages, related to the flat vinyl cutout books I have made.
I have used quite a few conductive materials (tinfoil, copper, gold and silver leaf), but they have not been used as switches or sensors of any kind- this is something else I would like to explore in further iterations.