Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:04 pm

Dementia Book Player

Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:08 am

I’m considering a project for my elderly mother who is nearly blind but likes listening to audio books. She also has mid stage vascular dementia so finds it hard to remember which buttons to press on her current portable player, a Bones Milestone 212. The problem with the Milestone is that it is bristling with buttons some of which control different modes (eg audio player, settings, audio recorder, etc) which is confusing enough for a sighted non-dementia person!

What I would like to do is create a portable player with the following

- a single button that turns the player on and starts reading an audio book wave file from the last position stopped at, and stops the player and turns off if already playing.
- audio needs to come from a speaker that is part of the unit
- the pi, speaker, rechargeable battery (PI Juice?) need to be as small as possible as she currently wears the audio player on a lanyard round her neck. I realise it won’t be as small as the Milestone as I’m not doing this with barebones electronic, I’m introducing a small computer.
- there is no need for multiple books on the player, she only reads one at a time and I then replace it by writing to an SD card, but this could be any mechanism. Long term I’d like to use something like Dataplicity to flash her a book over the interwebs, but that’s for later.
- possibly have a small display for relatives and care staff to see the book title and any error messages
- volume would be set in software as she once she’s happy with the volume level she doesn’t tend to change it
- led to show green when charged, red when requiring charge, flashing red when charging

Any help on what components to get would gratefully received. In particular I’m concerned about,

- whether I need an amp hat or can the pi drive a mini speaker?
- how would I stack an amp, pi juice, pi, basic mini screen and speaker in a case and which case?

I’m a complete electronics noob but with a programming and some comms background.


Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:30 am

Re: Dementia Book Player

Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:43 am

I'm looking at much the same thing for the same reasons. Here's the best example I found:

This system navigates multiple audio books/music files etc by speaking out your current location. Navigation is via an IR remote. It bookmarks your location and will return to it automatically.

It is a bit out of date. I've adapted their work for IBM Watson Text to Speech API which was simple to use. If knoever is around here, many thanks for this - there was no email in your documentation otherwise I would have emailed you already.

I'm a few weeks away from completing it and giving it to my father in law so I don't know for sure he will cope with the navigation.

Hope this helps.

Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:04 pm

Re: Dementia Book Player

Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:49 am

Many thanks, I’ll take a look at that

Posts: 3377
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: UK

Re: Dementia Book Player

Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:10 pm

It might be worth looking at MP3/WAV player modules which can be controlled by a simple and cheap microcontroller. Some of those include amplifiers for attaching a speaker. That would also better suit small size and minimal power consumption than a Raspberry Pi, even a Zero. Something which can run direct from batteries would seem more appropriate than a Pi which requires 5V.

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