Ángela Ruiz Robles: The Visionary Inventor Behind the First Electronic Book

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mage Courtesy: Google Doodle

Ángela Ruiz Robles (28 March 1895 – 27 October 1975) was a Spanish teacher, writer, and inventor who is best known for her work in developing the precursor to the modern e-book reader.

Life and Career

She was born in Villamanín, León, Spain on 28 March 1895. Ruiz Robles began her teaching career in the 1920s and later became a professor of literature and language in Galicia, in northwestern Spain. She was also a prolific writer, publishing several books and articles on literature and pedagogy.

In the 1940s and 1950s, Ruiz Robles became interested in using technology to improve education. She developed a prototype for a device she called the “mechanical encyclopedia,” which would allow students to access and read books electronically. Her device used compressed air to turn pages and had a built-in light for reading in low light conditions.

Ruiz Robles received a patent for her invention in 1962 and presented it at the International Inventors’ Fair in Brussels the following year. Her device garnered significant interest and praise from attendees, but it never entered production due to a lack of funding. Despite this setback, Ruiz Robles continued to work on developing her device and advocating for the use of technology in education. She wrote numerous articles and gave talks on the subject, promoting the use of electronic devices as a way to make learning more accessible and efficient.

Ángela Ruiz Robles passed away on 27 October  1975, in her hometown of Villamanín, León, Spain. Her contributions to the field of education and her pioneering work in electronic books have been recognized in recent years, and she is now regarded as a trailblazer for the e-book industry.

Award and Legacy

Ángela Ruiz Robles’ contributions to the field of education and technology have been recognized in various ways over the years. Here are some examples of awards and honors she has received and her lasting legacy:

  • Recognition by the Spanish government: In 2019, the Spanish Ministry of Education and Vocational Training posthumously awarded Ángela Ruiz Robles the Gold Medal for Merit in Education in recognition of her contribution to the field of education and her pioneering work in electronic books.
  • Commemorative plaque: In 2018, a commemorative plaque was unveiled in the town of Villamanín, León, Spain, in honor of Ángela Ruiz Robles and her contributions to the field of education and technology.
  • Legacy in the e-book industry: Ángela Ruiz Robles’ prototype for the electronic book reader was a precursor to the modern e-book reader, and her work has been recognized as a major milestone in the development of electronic books.
  • Inspiration for future innovators: Ángela Ruiz Robles’ pioneering work in the field of education and technology has inspired future innovators to pursue similar advancements in education and electronic devices.
  • Celebration of her legacy: In recent years, Ángela Ruiz Robles has been celebrated in various ways, including a Google Doodle on what would have been her 123rd birthday, as well as exhibitions and events showcasing her work and legacy.

On 28 March 2016, Google celebrated Ángela Ruiz Robles’s 121st Birthday with a doodle.

Overall, Ángela Ruiz Robles’ legacy as a trailblazer in the field of education and technology has endured to this day. Her pioneering work in electronic books and her advocacy for using technology to improve education have inspired generations of innovators, and she continues to be recognized for her contributions to the field.