Singapore has the highest percentage of myopic children. They are often caused by improper reading habits, like reading too closely, reading in dim light, reading for long periods without rest.
Singapore company, CrymsonTec, then designed a product specifically to tackle this. They invented a smart bookstand to help children combat myopia.
The CEO of CrymsonTec is my school mate, and being a parent himself, he is very passionate about this product. Months back, he passed me a prototype which I tried out and provided my feedback. It took them almost a year to re-design and finetune the electrical components, and recently Gabriel passed me the production unit of BookBuddy for another review.
I was impressed that the device works like a charm as claimed. Here’s what the BookBuddy will do for you and your kids:
1. Ensure a good reading distance from the book.
2. Ensure sufficient lighting.
3. Ensure taking breaks from reading.
Here’s how the BookBuddy does it.
Good Reading Distance
There is a proximity sensor that detects how far your child is from the book. If he or she is too close to the book, the BookBuddy will emit beeping sounds. The beep will only sound several seconds after it detects proximity breach, so you won’t get beeps for brief blocks.
There is a green LED that lights up when the BookBuddy is turned on, and 2 ambient sensors at tip of the retractable arms. If it detects poor lighting, the LED will blink. It’s good that there are 2 sensors in case one of them is blocked, for instance, by shadows.
After 30 minutes of turning on the BookBuddy, the LED will turn red and a single beep will remind the child to take a break. The beep will sound again every 15 minutes.
Adjustable Book Stand
Even if you – an adult – do not want to use the sensors, the BookBuddy works great as a book stand, which can hold either 22-degree or 60-degree angle. There is also a page extender to hold larger items. The fixed angles ensure good reading (60-degree) and writing (22-degree) postures, hence it is not built to allow different tilt angles.
I must say that Gabriel and his team has put in their heart and soul into creating this innovative product. Each function has its independent way of warning the user. Obviously, keeping a good reading distance tops the priority, hence the audible and persistent warning. Lighting is just as important, but may be subjective, hence the blinking LED to alert the user to reconsider reading in a brighter location. Finally, the reminder to take breaks is just a simple timer and so it should be least intrusive.
Being a first-gen product, there are definitely room for improvement. I’d wish the plastic is more dense and hardy. It looked like it cannot survive a few drops, which I think would be very common for children. And I look forward to future versions where I can customise some features, e.g. reading timer.
If you ask me, EVERY FAMILY MUST GET ONE – or 3! It is a small price to pay to control myopia of our young, especially when we parents are often not around all the time to keep watch. It makes a brilliant gift, not just for your children, but for your friends who are parents themselves. Although Gabriel gave me this review unit, I personally ordered another one – in pink – for my daughter. As for this unit, I am going to pass around to my peers to let them experience the benefits of the BookBuddy. Let me know if you want to try it out (you know how to contact me *wink*).
The CrymsonTec BookBuddy is available in 3 colours – green, blue and pink, at the online shop, priced at US$60, or S$125 for 3. Also available at Naiise in Singapore at S$84.90, with more retailers carrying it over the next few weeks.
Product website: http://www.crymsontec.com/bookbuddy/