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E-book reader auto page turning

Use eye-tracking to turn the page in a dual-screen e-book reader
  [vote for,

If you own a Kindle, you may or may not have discovered that it has a magnetic sensor, and that if you put your Kindle in the right case it will power up when you open the case and power down when you close it.

At one point I thought it would be a nice trick to have a case that held two kindles side by side, both reading the same book with the text spilling from the left one to the right, and the pages being turned by closing and re-opening the case, somewhat like flipping the pages of the book.

Cool, but ultimately a bit annoying to do all that page turning, compared to just the single touch that is needed with the actual Kindle.

But today I had an idea that keeps the book-like feel of having two screens, without the hassle of turning pages awkwardly... with a cell-phone style camera fitted at the top of each display, it could very cheaply determine which of the two screens you were looking at by checking to see which photograph of your eye was closest to circular. (It would also help the eye direction recognition if the two pages were slightly angled as in a real book, not both flattened out)

Then when your gaze moved from the right page back to the left page, it would change the pages on the screen like flipping the page of a book. (Or if you don't mind them being out of order, it could update the left page as soon as you move on to the right page, so it is in place and ready when you move from the right back to the left, without needing a screen refresh delay. At that point it would update the right hand page which you are no longer looking at)

I know the description sounds awkward but if you imagine the actual process, it is really simple and natural - you just read, and never need to press any buttons to go to the next page.

And from the marketing point of view, this could double sales! - rather than selling a special dual version of the Kindle, they would make this a feature of all Kindles and have them communicate with their neighbour (near field or BT or wifi - mechanism is not important), and the product would be the dual-kindle case. Amazon would make their money from doubling Kindle sales rather than from the cases.

Well, I would buy one :-) How about you guys?

gtoal, Jul 25 2017

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       Innovative [+].   

       However, many larger tablets have a front-facing camera - so all the hardware is already there; it's just a matter of writing the app.
8th of 7, Jul 25 2017

       What if you move your eyes from the right page to the left page, to re-read something on that page? An auto page-flip will seriously interfere!
Vernon, Jul 25 2017

       Well, from my personal experience in reading paper books - I might occasionally skip back a paragraph within the page if I mis-parsed a sentence and have to re-read it, but I don't find myself often going back to the previous page. Do you?   

       Undoubtedly some fine tuning will be necessary to handle cases like that and perhaps an area of the screen to touch to undo an unwanted page turn, but I don't see that as a deal- killer. I'ld definitely like to try this and see what it feels like.
gtoal, Jul 25 2017

       @8th of 7: Good point! Though holding two Kindle Fire tablets (or worse, anything larger like an iPad) is going to be more like reading a hardback or a coffee-table book than the experience of a paperback which is what I was aiming for! (I'ld love a case that was an actual paperback...)   

       I wish the Kindle e-ink devices had a screen that was edge to edge. They're physically about the right size but the display is too small compared to paperbacks, which have evolved over almost a hundred years to be the ideal format for reading on the go. A happy medium between fitting in an average pocket and having enough text on the page so as not to require too frequent page turning. With Kindles, to get the same amount of text on a page, you currently have to set the type way too small for my aging eyes. Hence why two pages visible at once appeals. I read sufficiently quickly that the slow screen refresh of an e-ink page is actually an annoyance to me as it breaks the flow, so by having two screens and double-buffering the text, you move the refresh to a time when you finish a page, not when you start a new one.
gtoal, Jul 25 2017

       Some smartphones already have gaze tracking features, using the front camera. I've seen applications of such technology to pause videos when you look away from the screen, and to avoid going to sleep when you're looking at the screen.   

       Therefore, I would be totally unsurprised if an existing e-reader app had such a feature to turn the pages. I do like the physical double-buffering in your idea, though.   

       However, in my experience, the gaze tracking wasn't very reliable. It would only pick up my gaze once every few weeks, and only for a few seconds, leading to a notification appearing, and then usually disappearing before I could check what it was. I eventually learned what the icon meant. You might need more advanced gaze tracking hardware.   

       Also, turn one page while the reader's eyes are about 85% of the way down the next page. Then looking back is easier.
notexactly, Aug 15 2017


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