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Zoe’s stylish new reacher

Posted 22 May 2019 in Stories

A happy girl in a pink wheelchair holding a purple reacher

A happy girl in a pink wheelchair holding a purple reacherMany of us know the frustration of dropping something we need and having it land just out of reach. For Zoe, who isn’t able to reach the floor from her wheelchair, this frustration happened regularly. Any time one of her things ended up on the floor, she had to wait for someone to come past and pick it up for her.

Some people find that they can use commercially available reachers to help them grab things that are just too far away. Zoe had tried lots, but she always found the various levers and triggers in the handles too difficult to manage. Enter Remap Berkshire!

Our Berkshire volunteer found a motorised hand on a toy robot that would do the job perfectly. It can open and close at the touch of a button, is strong enough to pick up large things like teddies, and delicate enough to grab pencils and playing cards. It also keeps a strong grip on things when the button isn’t being pressed, meaning Zoe can use both hands to pull the item back to herself.

The device can be charged up with a mobile phone charger and it switches off automatically when it’s not in use. Our volunteer added handy velcro straps so it’s always available when Zoe needs it. Best of all, he also finished it in a stylish purple so it accessorizes perfectly with Zoe’s wheelchair.

Update: We were delighted to have this story featured on BBC South Today. Watch their report here:

Technical details for this project are available on MakeAbility.

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