More FrankenKindle Progress

[Glenn] sent us an update on his FrankenKindle project. You might remember this hack from back in July. [Glenn] is modding the device to make it easier for his sister, who has Cerebral Palsy, to use.

The latest revision adds a case for the hardware. The silver button pad is what remains of the V.Reader (a children’s toy), having had the screen portion hacked off. The case provides a stable base for the reader and buttons, holding them at a nice angle for easy use. There’s just a bit of cable routing that needs to be finished to protect some fragile connections. The picture above does show the circuit board to the side, but there is a place for it around back.

In the video after the break [Glenn] mentions that the response to keypresses is a little sluggish. Sure, some of this is Kindle’s own delay when refreshing the ePaper display. But we can’t help but think the code running on the Teensy could also be optimized. We’ve asked him to post his code if he wants some tips, so check back and help out if you can.

We do have one feature suggestion for him. The Kindle keyboard no longer functions because that flat cable coming out the side is what connects to it. It’s quite easy to add a PS/2 keyboard port to a microcontroller. That would be a nice addition to the FrankenKindle as it would make things like shopping for books a bit easier.


7 thoughts on “More FrankenKindle Progress

  1. I would have thought that you could speed up the response dramatically by simply just electrically extending the buttons on the kindle itself, maybe? If you just break out UP, DOWN, SELECT, PAGE – and PAGE +, and perhaps HOME and BACK too, that’d give maybe 99% of the Kindle’s functionality right there, with no need for software hacks and no delay while the scripts interpret and action the button presses?

    (Kind of a ‘Ben Heck’ solution, the very similar type of technique he adopts with controllers and the like)

  2. My uncle who is now in his fifties was born with CP. As a kid, I remember my dad building a sort of joystick station for him so he could play Atari. Essentially, the joystick was mounted in a wooden platform so he could sit on his knees with the joystick stationary between them. The smallest gesture from my dad made his life just a little easier and that is worth something.

    To the guy who is responsible for this build: I can’t think of a more noble purpose for a hack than to improve the quality of life of the ones we love. Your sister should be very proud to have a person like you as a brother.

  3. Ya know for this very reason its a shame manufactures / designers don’t at least leave some contact pads on the board to enable accessibility keyboards etc, I can see adding extra connectors adding cost, but a few pads on a board…

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