The Genius Who Invented A Book Reader Over Four Centuries Agoadmin
The reading habits of people have changed drastically since the invention of e-book readers. Gone are the days when reading books were a privilege of a select few. The printing machines had not been discovered then and only the lucky and rich could afford to source a handwritten manuscript and get enlightened.
The modern generation can’t even imagine such difficulties now. The invention of electronic gadgets like the iPad and the Kindle has made reading simple. The e-books are now so easily accessible to all that it is almost easy to forget what our past was like. Books can now be digitised and stored in these mobile devices. An enormous number of electronic books to be stored in a single device. E-books are indexed minutely to make it easy to search by a phrase or even a word. No need to rummage through the entire book or chapters you were reading if you which page you read last. Just activate the search facility in the index and in no time you will find the page, and can start reading the book again.
This ease of access has changed the reading habits in the people drastically. The earlier generations were accustomed to holding physical books and reading them from start to finish. The Millennials are used to chaotic reading. They often read multiple books in bits and pieces at a time. It seems that very few really have the time to go through an entire book sequentially from page to page in order to enjoy its literary value.
However, it would be incorrect to say that the arrival of digital readers like the Kindle or iPad are solely a modern phenomenon. In fact, the idea of chaotic reading was first propagated by an engineer named Agostino Ramelli from Italy in the 16th century. He had tried to invent a device which would allow him to read multiple books at a time in bits and pieces, to satisfy his appetite for knowledge.
This led him to come up with the design of the “Bookwheel”. This design was published by him in his famous book “Le diverse et artificiose machine del Capitano Agostino Ramelli” (The various and ingenious machines of Captain Agostino Ramelli) in 1588. Through this device, Ramelli wanted to solve a perennial problem that plagued every book lover for a few centuries: the difficulty in handling books due to their enormous size and weight at the time. Essentially, the Bookwheel would have allowed a person to read multiple books at the same time in the same location. Open books were laid out in a particular viewing angle on a giant wheel for the reader. He could then use his hand or feet to rotate the wheel to get access to the book that he wanted to read.
Though Ramelli died before he could produce a single Bookwheel, the design was so innovative that it was replicated by many engineers in the following centuries, even in the recent times. He was truly the inventor of the first book reading machine in the world.