We weren’t quite sure what to expect when we asked you what disability aid you would like to be invented – we were half expecting lots of space-age ideas! However, apart from the occasional suggestion of “an Iron Man suit!” your suggestions sound pretty plausible – we may have even found some of them for you!
From the kitchen, to personal care, around the house, in the gym, out and about and at work… there are lots of things you want inventing!
It Exists Already!
We’re seen lots of awesome disability aids and products come up as we’ve worked on this article series. Check out the first two articles for details of amazing kitchen gadgets, personal care assistance and much more! We don’t want to repeat ourselves too much so here are a few highlights: products that have come up A LOT and a few new ones you’ve challenged us to find!
Products you all want…
“My 11yr old with dystonia often drops toys, phone, switch lite etc. I would like him to be able pick up himself from his power chair.”
Easy! Check out our reacher/grabber: a lightweight grabber for quads, operated by a wrist flex rather than a hand squeeze!
“Putting my hair in a ponytail”
SO many of you have said this! We have a solution for you! Check out the 1-up hair tie, available now on our website.
“To hold cutlery or writing pens more controlled and fixed, to have the possibility to adjust their direction (my hope for the currently ordered Small Item Gripping Aid), or to support individual finger movements as long as finger movements are weakened but still present.”
We definitely recommend the Small Item aid for this! If you’re after more wrist support you could always try it over a wrist splint or brace – just remember that when you’re measuring your size you’ll need to measure with the splint on.
Products you challenged us to find…
Lots of you are still searching for disability aids to help in the kitchen, and pots and pans seem to pose a particular difficulty:
“Design Pots and pans and cooking bowls, dishes with a ring attached so one little finger can hold it. It’s so hard to hold a pan and scrape food out when you have to hold a handle.”
These do exist! Alternatively, casserole dish-style pans usually have looped handles.
“Something to hold and crack eggs easily. Also, something to make it easier to peel onions and garlic outer layers.”
We did find this silicon garlic peeler.
“Maybe if there were a way to pass something through under the wet clothes that could be used to lift them. That is, something like a net or a lasso that could go down between the clothes and the agitator and then back up between the clothes and the washer walls. Such a device, if it could go in before the clothes would be even better. Even if it couldn’t get all of the clothes out at once, if it could hold the clothes it did grab securely, it would help me transport them to the dryer without worrying about dropping them.”
For this I would suggest using a washing bag – so that all your clothes are bundled together and all you have to do is grab the bag… bonus points if you can find one with a loop! This one catches microplastics to keep them out of the ocean.
“I really need some sort of a replacement for a mouse. I use Dragon Naturally Speaking daily in my work and it’s great but it does not replace a mouse and I have a terrible time clicking, I am still considering the GlassOuse but I haven’t really read a review from someone who uses it regularly. It’s a big investment if it’s not going to be a sure Improvement. As always I am grateful to all of you at Active Hands for bringing together so many great products.”
The GlassOuse is a great alternative to a handheld mouse, and you can choose which ‘switch’ to get with it depending on what is most comfortable for you!
“I would like a front door that does not require a key to lock but some other secure way of opening/locking.”
I have seen a few airbnbs which have used pin code entry, or can be activated through your phone. The problem with these is that there is more to go wrong with electronic systems – but technology is getting better and more reliable all the time! We stock two great solutions for gripping keys: the Key Turner and the KeyWing.
We’re Working On It!
“My mother says she would like a greater choice of lengths for grabbers; she’d like a shorter one for things she doesn’t have to reach up for, and a longer one for getting stuff from high shelves.”
“A shorter version of a reacher type tool that could be used for hand/finger functions.”
“Something to hold a credit card to enable getting it in and out of a cash machine/carpark ticket machine. This can be so fiddly and embarrassing if fingers fail when needed.”
Good news! We are already looking at future projects that might just fill this gap for you. Replacing finger function is no small feat, but we’re doing our best!
Lots of you also mentioned that you love our gripping aids for use in the gym, but slight adaptations on them would make them much more suited to your own disability. Don’t forget, our products are the results of years of design, production and testing… but every person and every disability is different. If our gripping aids aren’t quite right for you don’t be afraid to get in touch and enquire about our bespoke service!
For the Future
“Lifting legs on off chairs/bed – something more supportive that the standard leg lifters as they are too flimsy and also grip is tricky for a reduced grip function.”
“Something that will put your bedcovers on and off you during the night and in the morning without it falling on the floor.”
Unfortunately we can’t find any likely solutions for this. After all, the human grip is extremely hard to simulate with disability aids!
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the disability community. Will someone start making and manufacturing working ‘Iron Man’ suits? Can Elon Musk’s Neurolink research find viable options for people with Spinal Cord Injuries? Will medicine advance beyond its current parameters to a point where what are now life-long disabilities become ‘curable’?
A big thank you once again to everyone who responded, your insight is the way forward for more awesome assistive products! Check out the first two articles in this series: ‘What do you find most frustrating due to your lack of hand function?’ and ‘What disability product makes the most difference to your life?’