Picture books are a great way to encourage your kids to embrace and enjoy reading. But as an adult, there may be times when it's simply impossible to only so many times you can read Aliens Love Underpants and remain sane. The Sparkup Magical Book Reader is a device which clips onto books and lets you record the audio for each page, so that your children can hear you reading it to them as they flick through the pages on their own.

Using proprietary image recognition technology, the Sparkup Reader is based around a camera which looks down at whatever book it's attached to. This enables the device to store highly compressed image data of book covers and pages, so that they can be recognized later, and corresponding voice clips played via a speaker.

Users simply attach the device to a book, and read it once into the microphone. This means younger readers can hear the recording at a later time by reattaching the reader and flipping through the pages of the book. This could come in handy if family members live hundreds of miles away, parents are working late and missing bedtime, or, very occasionally, when they just want a break from reading the same book ten times in a row .

Because each page is recognized independently, it doesn't matter whether little-ones "read" the pages of the book in the right order, the correct audio will always be played. The device has enough memory to store 250 minutes of audio, which is said to be good for about 50 children's books.

Sparkup Magical Book Reader will be launched later this month, with a retail price of around US$50. Later this year there will also be the option to download audio files of books being read by professionals.

Here's a short video showing the Sparkup Reader in action.

View gallery - 3 images