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The Reading Arm #InventForGood

by TechTownStudents

Published on March 8, 2016

We completed this project using the new littleBits STEAM Student Set in the #InventForGood challenge.  The reading arm helps with homework.  Imagine sitting at your homework desk with papers everywhere and you are trying to look at all of them at once.  If you hold more than one document you lose use of your hands for writing.   The user clips a paper or note to the reading arm and can control the angle of the arm using a slide dimmer.  It can also be used by people with disability and motor issues.   The project is easy to assemble using household items and littleBits.  You can also embrace your artistic side and decorate the box and arm. 

Duration: 1 hour

How To Make It


Assemble your supplies and put the bits together. Gather up the listed supplies. Attach your power bit to a wire. Your wire should attach to a slide dimmer. The side dimmer should attach to a servo motor. Make sure there is no arm currently attached to the servo and that it is set to "turn" mode.
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All of the bits you need


Cut a hole in the box You will need a hole in the top of the cardboard box for your servo to poke out of and control the arm. We used scissors to cut the hole but other cutting tools will do the job just as well.
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Prepared box


Mount the servo motor Feed your servo motor through the hole in the box. We attached ours to a servo mount to make it easier to tape down. Use scotch tape to attach your servo motor to the top of the box. It is important to do this step before attaching the hub and arm or it will be more difficult to feed the servo through the hole.


Ready and assemble the arm and hub Tape two mechanical arms together end-to-end. We used duct tape with a 1 inch overlap between the two pieces to ensure stability. Screw the arm onto the servo hub and attach the servo hub onto the servo motor.
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Taped arm

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Mounted arm and hub


Attach a document Once you have your arm set up at an angle you are happy with, attach a document to it by using two butterfly clips. Clamp the edge of the document down to the arm using the clips. You are now finished!
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Finished product

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