Newspaper Board

This board allows Cindy to read a newspaper without needing to grip it, and without the paper sliding around. ‘It makes that whole experience of leisurely reading the paper doable. I love it.’

In Situ

Cindy props the newspaper board on her lap. Its surfaces and structure allow her to view and page through a full size two page spread of a standard newspaper.


Cindy likes to read the newspaper in its print form, but she finds the paper itself to be unwieldy: it’s slippery and oversized, and it’s challenging for her hands to grip and turn individual pages. Cindy came to Caitrin Lynch’s Engineering for Humanity class at Olin College on the same day as a visit from Susan Crowell, an Occupational Therapist from nearby North Hill, a continuing care retirement community. Susan shared a version of this newspaper board with the class, as an example of the solutions she builds to enable North Hill residents to independently perform daily tasks. Susan had designed this for people with Parkinson’s disease whose tremors make it difficult to hold and read a newspaper.

Cindy immediately saw this innovation as a solution to her own newspaper-reading challenges, and she left class that day with Susan’s show-and-tell item as her own. Cindy’s husband, Ken, added the no-slip, textured, gripping material so the paper doesn’t slide around when it is propped up on the board. “It makes that whole experience of leisurely reading the paper doable. I love it.” Cindy is always on the alert to problem solve such routine and specific (and easily overlooked as small and non-essential) everyday activities that had become frustrating and exhausting.


A technical drawing showing the layers and use of the newspaper board, with Cindy's hands able to manipulate the pages. Parts indicated are the wood rail at the bottom, the bottom layer of foam core, top layer of shelf liner, and duct taped sides and top edge.