If you are like me and play a musical instrument, you will have no doubt suffered the agony of having to turn the page when reading sheet music. It sounds a simple procedure, however in practise both your hands are usually tied up with the musical performance and this frustration continues as we have moved into the digital world. Therefore using a device such as the AirTurn BT-105 will help ease this aggravation immensely as you instead use your foot to trigger the ‘page turn’ on electronic documents.
The AirTurn BT-105 with two ATFS-2 Pedals and Pedal Board has been kindly sent for review by Sightread Ltd.
In my review, I will be using the iPad as an example of how you can use the AirTurn BT-105 to great effect – however it can also be used with a PC, Mac or Android computers with compatible Bluetooth hardware…
The AirTurn BT-105 consists of two non-mechanised foot-pedals sat either side of a small unit that includes the power button, USB charging port, pedal connections and an indicator light. The entire device is fairly small and incredibly light allowing for easy transportation, while also allowing for both pedals to be triggered by a single foot. The device also boasts up to 80-100 hours battery life on a full charge.
There are four profiles the AirTurn BT-105 utilises to connect to different Bluetooth equipment, however by default the foot-pedals act as keyboard Up and Down buttons – which is known as ‘iPad mode’. These can be adjusted by holding down a single or a combination of foot-pedals when turning on the device, however in our scenario the initial settings are perfect.
Just like any other Bluetooth peripheral, pairing the device with your iPad is straightforward. Pairing is a term used to describe wirelessly connecting one Bluetooth device with another. On your iPad, simply open the ‘Settings’ app, select ‘General’ and then ‘Bluetooth’. Hold down the power button for one second to enable ‘discovery’ mode, which essentially informs compatible devices of its existence and then select the AirTurn BT-105 on your tablet.
Once connected, you now have to install or open a compatible app (recommended apps listed on the official AirTurn website) to take advantage of the AirTurn device.
One such app known as forScore is a digital sheet music viewer that can utilise the AirTurn BT-105 to turn pages by the tap of a pedal with your foot. The freedom this allows is a totally refreshing experience and the years of reaching over to the music stand to turn the page are finally at an end. No longer do we have to risk an uncomfortable stretch of the arm that can impact the quality of your performance as this is now a thing of the past.
The pedals are perfectly silent without none of the usual clicking sounds you might expect when triggering a typical switch pedal, certainly ideal for quieter performances where you can hear a pin drop. The close proximity of the pedals also assists you when you need to use the second pedal and this is important when sheet music requires repeating a section located on a previous page. Each press feels assured of action and the overall built quality leaves an impression of longevity even with its sleek design.
There are other uses for the AirTurn BT-105 device, however the page turning principle remains pretty consistant no matter which compatible app you decide to utilise. If sheet music isn’t your thing, maybe presentations are and again you can advance a page (well actually in this instance a slide) with ease. With a Teleprompter app for example though, it may actually increase or decrease the speed of the scrolling text or jump to a predetermined section.
One issue I noticed with the AirTurn BT-105 connected is that the iPad considers the device to be a physical Bluetooth keyboard, so any time you trigger a text entry area nothing appears to allow you to enter the information such as the virtual on-screen keyboard. There is a way around this and that is to open a text box on the iPad and then quickly press the power button on the AirTurn BT-105 unit, which re-enables the virtual keyboard. A slight inconvenience, but hey not a major one as usually if you have this device connected at all – typing will probably be the last thing on your mind.
The ability to trigger advancement and even stepping backwards by using two convenient foot-switches is an immensely helpful tool to have at your disposal in numerous applications especially in scenarios where a page turn is required.
If you have a compatible application on your mobile device or computer, the AirTurn BT-105 will allow those once frustrating moments to pass without incident and your focus to remain on the task at hand.