Hands-free Page-turning

Is your life filled with desk-crushing textbooks or Everest-high piles of murder mysteries? Are you dreading reading them because of arthritis, repetitive stress or other hand injuries? Musicians and choristers are in on a solution that could be useful to seniors.

The music world’s equivalent of the doorstopper book is the bulky score. For just one example, the score of the holiday classic Handel’s Messiah can easily run 250 pages. That’s a whole lot of turning, not to mention the embarrassment of stuck or skipped pages while performing.

To solve the problem, concert pianist and former Curtis Institute of Music faculty member Hugh Sung co-created a company called AirTurn, which produces a page-turning system that consists of a holder for a tablet computer and a wireless foot pedal to move the pages forward.

The system can also work with .pdfs (although not, unfortunately, Amazon’s Kindle), so it can be adapted as a general book reader. It will take some configuring, but it’s well worth considering if you own a tablet computer and would like to minimize the use of your hands or are just tired of having sheet music fall at your feet.

In fact, according to AirTurn’s Tanya Unger, many physical therapists are already helping their patients learn to use AirTurn, which also has a bite switch available for those for whom a foot pedal may not work. As Unger says, “We like to promote freedom and independence; it’s nice to not have to rely on a family member to help you read a book.”

Below is a quick overview of the system for the iPad. It is also available for Windows and Android-based tablets, and can work with a music stand as shown or with AirTurn’s tiltable tablet holder.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80OVgx5Q7T4]