As a continual learner, I read many books; many of them are big and heavy. I've tried reclining on my bed or the couch with the book propped up in front of my face so that I could be more comfortable while I read. Perhaps you've tried this, too. This arrangement usually works fine for me for a few minutes, at least until I'm woken up by the sharp nasal pains caused by big and heavy book falling on my nose.  

After encountering this situation on one too many occasion, I decided to do some observation and study into its root causes. I concluded that the problem was that there was no way to easily turn the page from this position; this in turn led to boredom [continually looking at the same page]  which lead to a relaxed state of being, [while waiting for the page to somehow turn by itself] which led to slumber, which lead to a near-broken nose while studying.

I did many repeat experiments under similar conditions to validate my findings (which is why there's no photo of my smiling face with this blog entry).

A few years ago, I determined that I should do something about this problem.  As a robotics enthusiast, I decided that there must be a way to build a stand to hold my book with an automated page turner. I scoured the Internet for ideas; I even wrote to The Christopher Reeve Foundation to ask for ideas and to offer to share mine. Surely I was not the first person with this interest/need. My initial searches & inquiries returned nothing.

Well, that was a few years ago; I eventually did find a mechanism that would automatically turn the page of a book; I found it in a medical supply catalog for patients with disabilities. Unfortunately, there were approximately 3,950 reasons why it might not work for my application.

A few months ago I purchased Tecra M4 Tablet PC. This allowed me to scan in my text books and other materials that I wanted to study and read them on the tablet from a relaxed position. Once again, I thought back to my book stand/page turner idea. With the Tablet PC, I didn't need the robotic page-turner. I could used timed page turns or use a a Bluetooth mouse or Logitech cordless presenter to let me control the turn of each page. This was great.

But it wasn't. I soon realized that I had another more serious reading hazard to contend with...

A Tecra M4 Tablet PC falling on my face could kill me

Not one to be easily discouraged by technical problems - even in the face of life-threatening risks such as these, I renewed my search for the ultimate Tablet PC stand* - one that would allow me to [safely] read in any position, no matter how relaxed I got.

If you're still reading this far, you'll be delighted to know that I recently found my ultimate Tablet PC stand.*  I do not have one - yet- but I've sat in front of one for several days now, and I'm inspired to think about getting/building one for myself soon.

Still interested? Let me know, and I'll post some pictures soon.

* I thought about calling this UTPCS, but I didn't want to torture Marc Orchant and James Kendrick with Yet Another Acronym, so for the time-being, no cute name.

Discussion/Comments (16):

How not to break your nose reading a Tablet PC

Thanks so much for that Eric. I just pronouncing that acronym and I sprained my tongue!


Can't wait to see what you've come up with.

Here's a tip: eReader and Microsoft Reader both can be set to autoscroll at a variable speed to allow a continuous scrolling display of the ebook. I do this on my Treo and my Tablet PC - just prop it up and read while eating breakfast for example.

Posted at 08/22/2005 12:10:34 by Marc Orchant

How not to break your nose reading a Tablet PC

Ok, now you're just being a tease, Eric. Can't wait to see the result.

Posted at 08/22/2005 12:14:02 by Warner Crocker

How not to break your nose reading a Tablet PC

I'm sitting here envisioning something like a football helmet with the face mask replaced by a set of arms and clamps for securing the tablet :-)

Posted at 08/22/2005 13:13:40 by Richard Schwartz

How not to break your nose reading a Tablet PC

Eric, I love your acronyms, I just can't spell them. :) I have a simple solution to your problem and it works with the Tecra and also real books.

Sit up when you read. I have one of those pillow chairs that make sitting up and reading in bed very comfortable. And safer for those with your problem.

Posted at 08/22/2005 13:15:13 by James Kendrick

How not to break your nose reading a Tablet PC

Eric, have you not posted the pictures yet because you're waiting for them to be developed? Is this another aProductivity example? M.

Posted at 08/22/2005 15:01:48 by Michael Sampson

How not to break your nose reading a Tablet PC

I came up with a better solution than a stand ...

{ Link }

Posted at 08/22/2005 19:32:03 by Rob Stevens

Post the pictures, Eric

Eric, have you not posted the pictures because you're still waiting for them to be processed at the photo lab? M.

Posted at 08/23/2005 0:34:50 by Michael Sampson

How not to break your nose reading a Tablet PC

Eric - I really have to disagree with you using your children in such a way.

I do hope you allow them to rest every hour whilst holding your books/tablet pc up for you to read and turning the pages!

Posted at 08/23/2005 3:25:01 by Steve Castledine

How not to break your nose reading a Tablet PC

Well, I know which stand I use - and it folds up flat (well almost flat). Could it be the same one? Post Eric!

Posted at 08/23/2005 6:25:06 by Walter

How not to break your nose reading a Tablet PC

There's a pretty cool piece of technology that can effectively solve this problem.

It's called a chair. ;)

Posted at 08/23/2005 10:07:57 by Steve Pavlina

TPC Stand photos

For those of you waiting for the photos to go along with my previous post. I now have them. I'm hoping to get two more that will who how the stand can be used in a variety of positions. If I'm unable to do that, I'll post what I have.

Posted at 08/23/2005 11:12:00 by Eric Mack

That´s funny, Rob

Versatile, too.

Posted at 08/23/2005 11:10:00 by Eric Mack

How not to break your nose reading a Tablet PC

I place the M4 in notebook mode on a small table right next to the bed.(I just got the M4 a week ago and loving it).

Posted at 08/24/2005 1:43:46 by Michael K

I found the Tablet Stand photos

I'll get them posted tomorrow. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Posted at 08/26/2005 17:58:15 by Eric Mack

How not to break your nose reading a Tablet PC

Seriously - no really - what about a page-turning triggered by a sound, like a click of the tongue? I've found that a timed page-turn or scroll doesn't match my reading speed, which tends to speed up or slow down depending on the material - conversations are fast, for instance, and descriptions are slow.

Posted at 10/21/2005 12:45:07 by Jon Jermey

How not to break your nose reading a Tablet PC


Pleeeeaase, send me more information about what you use now and if there´s something useful for reading books, turning pages or holding laptops on the market.

I thank you very much, from Brazil!


Posted at 12/22/2008 12:35:03 by Sergio Pos

Discussion for this entry is now closed.