While most consumers hail one- or multiple-touch technology as an improvement over keyboard typing or using a mouse, for musicians who need both hands to play their instruments, removing a hand to momentarily touch the screen for page turns is distracting at best and disruptive to the music at worst. And while the iPad is a great tool for reading digital sheet music, its functionality is hampered by the need to touch or swipe the screen to turn pages.
AirTurn, Inc. is introducing a first look at its prototype Bluetooth BT-105 page turner footswitch for the iPad and other Bluetooth-equipped computers. While the concept of using foot pedals to control machines is not new, what is new is that the AirTurn BT-105 automatic page turner footswitch is a wireless device designed for musicians who need to turn sheet music pages hands free. The AirTurn BT-105 connects wirelessly to an iPad or other Bluetooth-equipped computer and is triggered by foot switches to turn pages forwards and backwards. Some apps and programs that feature half page zoomed views of the music will also feature the ability to turn pages with the Bluetooth AirTurn half a page at a time. The final version of the AirTurn BT-105 will be miniaturized.
By allowing musicians to keep their hands on their instrument at all times, the Bluetooth AirTurn makes computers and tablet devices like the iPad fully usable as digital sheet music readers. Page turns are almost undetectable and completed with a tap of the foot, allowing musicians to fully focus on the music itself.
According to Lester Karplus at AirTurn, ForScore , a sheet music provider, will be incorporating the Bluetooth device in their sheet music apps. Three other sheet music providers are considering it. Karplus also adds that though this device will be marketed primarily for musicians, it is also functional for church ministers who use Teleprompters and for other public speakers using PowerPoint presentations, where being able to use both hands is important for a more natural or emphatic presentation. The AirTurn BT-105 is expected to be available Q4 2010.