Where I live spring and warm weather has finally arrived. Which means the motorcycle owners are pulling their bikes out of storage and hitting the road. I have a few friends that are motorcycle riders and they love the freedom and open air. For wheelchair users, the options are much more limited. You can find people with custom made motorcycles and trikes but there’s not much in the way of factory made ones. But now a company out of Costa Rica named Panda Mobility is making a wheelchair accessible trike.
Category Archives: Assistive Technology
One of the most overlooked aspects of accessible and universal design is the location of electrical outlets. Many times they’re too low to the ground, too high, or hard to reach from a counter. Having outlets in locations that don’t require much reaching or bending over can make things easier. At the workplace we now use so many pieces of technology that need to be plugged in. With mobile devices we will plug and unplug these devices multiple times a day. Which makes accessibility all the more important. Many furniture systems have plugs built into their office furniture that’s accessible. Here’s another example by EVOline of Norway with their line of accessible electrical outlets.
Spring is a comin’ despite the lingering snow flakes for some of us. Which means for many it’s time get their gardens going. Awhile back I wrote a couple of articles (here and here) about some ideas and products for wheelchair accessible outdoor gardens. But not everyone, such as apartment dwellers, have the space to have an outdoor garden. Others may not have an accessible route to the outdoors or let’s just say are not good at keeping plants alive. Indoor gardening is an alternative and their are a myriad of ways and products to do this. Although a fair amount of maintenance is still needed in terms of watering and fertilizing. For a nearly maintenance free and potentially accessible way of gardening, there is the Click & Grow. An indoor vegetable and herb garden kit that does all the watering and fertilizing for you.
Everyday we do things that we take for granted because we do them without any problem. But for other people those some tasks can be difficult to do. Not that we should stop and appreciate every little thing or feel sorry for others, but an awareness of varying abilities is good to have. One task that many of us do with ease and without a second thought is using scissors. But for those with arthritis or other hand problems can have some difficulty. Thinking about it, using scissors uses a lot of individual fingers and hand muscles along with dexterity. A product that can make the cutting process easier are these Casta universal design scissors by HARAC of Japan.
Though not always necessary, one of the most useful assistive devices available in terms of convenience is an automatic door opener. In narrow spaces or when hands are full they can make getting through a door so much easier. For residential purposes, automatic door openers involve expensive equipment and drilling into structure. Rental properties might discourage this and some people may not want to put holes in their door or walls. For those people a new option is now available from Drive Medical. Doormatic is a bottom mounted automatic door opener that requires no tools for installation.
By now many of you are probably familiar with Etsy and have maybe even bought something from there. If you’re not familiar, Etsy is an online marketplace for crafters. There you’ll find handmade jewelry, woodworking, home accessories, and a whole lot more. One of my first articles was about two Etsy shops that made very stylish wheelchair bags. Today I’m featuring another Etsy shop that has wheelchair accessories. The Rolling Diva Shoppe has unique and custom made wheelchair wheel covers and hubcaps.
At my work we have a small side program where we rent out manual wheelchairs. A program which I mostly manage so I’ve had to figure out a way or two to fit wheelchairs into a car. Which I’m always able to do but it can be a bit of a hassle because wheelchair wheels are pretty big in size. That also means that once the wheelchair is in the trunk or backseat, there’s not much room for anything else. If the wheels could somehow be easily removed and made smaller that would make things a lot easier. Well now that very thing can be done with the MORPH foldable wheelchair wheels.
A common roadblock when making a commercial entrance or change in level accessible is making it accessible while still keeping the architectural integrity. Many times ramps can be installed which can easily be made to look appeasing. Platform lifts on the other hand can look very mechanical and garish. There are many ways to make platform lifts look stylish which I have wrote about before (read those articles here and here). But there is another problem, space. A small or narrow entrance could have room for stairs but no room for a platform lift. What to do then? How about hiding the platform lift under the stairs. Yes you read that right because it can be done with the Sesame Retractable Stairs and platform lift from the U.K.