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Thread: Page Turning Device for Man with ALS

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    Senior Member roshni's Avatar
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    Page Turning Device for Man with ALS

    Students restore joy of reading

    By Brian Babcock

    MediaNews

    Three Stanford students have given one Redwood Shores man a chance to do something he lost years ago -- the ability to read.

    Students Caitlin Donhowe, Nick Manov and Mike Laufer have put together a prototype ``page turner'' they hope will be the first of many.
    Rich Hall, 49, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in 2004. An avid reader who read about one library book a week, he lost the ability to read when the muscles in his arms started to weaken.

    ``I can't hold a book, let alone turn a page,'' he said.
    Hall uses the machine by pressing a button with his head that tells it to turn the page. The page turner uses a long, circular tool to pull the page so Hall can read the book without using his arms.

    ``It was such a rewarding project,'' Donhowe said. ``You want to do a meaningful and fulfilling project.''

    ALS affects about 30,000 people in the United States, the ALS Association says. The disease causes paralysis in the limbs and trunks. Within the past few weeks, Hall has had to use a wheelchair to get around.

    So for Hall, something was needed to help him read like he used to.
    The machine was put together for the students' Mechanical Engineering Design class. There were projects ideas from NASA, Lockheed and Applied Materials.

    Donhowe said she chose this project because there seemed to be a real use for it and she didn't want to spend months on something she found to be trivial.

    Although problems came up for the group throughout the five months they worked on the project, such as time constraints and money, they were able to finish the prototype on time for the end of the class. And Donhowe said she was glad they did. Not just for the good grade but also for Hall.

    ``I'm a huge reader, and it would be an enormous blow to me to not be able to read,'' she said.
    Brian Babcock can be reached at bbabcock@ dailynewsgroup.com.

    Link: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercu...n/15441704.htm
    Last edited by roshni; 09-06-2006 at 01:33 PM.

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