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Gripping Aids Review featuring Active Hands

Gripping Aids for Disabled People in Review

There are many different reasons a person may have difficult with their grip or poor hand function and it can make independence and access to a wide range of regular daily tasks difficult. Active Hands specialise in creating aids which provide their users with a functional gripping aid or aids, letting them enjoy activities which they may never have thought possible.

The Story behind Active Hands

freeweightsThe Active Hands Company Ltd is the development and creation of Rob Smith, an inventor who used his own experiences to develop his gripping aids. In 1996, as a student, Rob suffered a high-level spinal cord injury which resulted in partial paralysis in all four limbs and whilst his recovery took some time, he returned to continue studying engineering.

Lack of hand function became a real frustration however and this is when the first seed of thought was planted and quickly Rob got together the necessary materials and with the help of his mother and her sewing machine, the first prototype was made and these gripping aids allows Rob much more hand functionality.

From household tasks to skiing, Rob could now enjoy many activities that had been impossible after his injury and the family then took the next step and began to make the aids for others, with the limited company founded in 2008.

The product is now available in a range of sizes for a range of purposes and has helped many individuals enjoy a fuller life, from helping tots ride their first tricycle to allowing treasured hobbies to be discovered.

A Closer Look at Active Hands Gripping Aids

This informative video shows exactly what Active Hands Gripping Aids can do and how they can be used:

All of the aids produced by Active Hands are made from strong webbing material to ensure they are long lasting, even when used for strenuous activities and the aids are easily washed in your washing machine.

There are a wide range of different Active Hands Gripping Aids, which we’ll look at in turn below:

Active Hands General Purpose Gripping Aid

Active Hands General Purpose Gripping Aid

Active Hands General Purpose Gripping Aid

The original. A standard aid created to be used in a range of environments, at home for DIY, working out in the gym or to hold a wide range of sporting equipment including a pool cue or a rowing oar. You can use them to enjoy gardening or to hold a glass bottle or even to hold a games console controller.

They’re available in a range of sizes, including those for young children, with the mini gripping aid in pink or blue and the adult version can also be bought in pink. We had a closer
look at childrens gripping aids on our sister blog here.

Looped Exercise Aids

Designed for fitness fanatics, these looped exercise aids are ideal for using in the gym and the loops make them perfect for using equipment such as pull down bars and rowing machines.

This video shows the looped aids in action:

D-Ring Aids

Active Hands Gripping Aid for Working Out

Active Hands Gripping Aid for Working Out

D-Ring aids are another creation for use in the gym, sold as a pair and perfectly designed so you can access cable and pulley machines with ease. They allow for a greater range of movement and can be beneficial for those with limb differences as well as weak hand function.

Outdoor Aid

A modified version of the standard Active Hands General Purpose Aid, the Outdoor Aid has been cleverly designed for use with thick gloves. It has the same functionality as the general aid but you can use it for extreme winter sports, gardening in colder weather.

What the Customers Say

The Active Hands Company Ltd has a huge fan base with many reviews and lots of support for their quality product. Below are some examples of happy customers’ thoughts:

“I just ordered a new gripping aid after a number of years with the first.  It still works great and has allowed me to do a number of things I was in the process of giving up on (tennis, shoveling, cutting with a knife, etc.). I ordered a second right hand one because I travel with it sometimes and the thought of leaving it somewhere and having to do without it for a period of time is not a pleasant one. Thanks again for coming up with an invention that truly makes a big difference in my life.”

Bob Goodkind

“I am a big fan of active hands and every one of my clients that has grip issues has been shown how effective active hands are. They are quite simply the best tetra gloves on the market and I am very happy to recommend active hands to my clients at Prime Physio.  I am a big fan and meet people throughout the country and occasionally in Europe, I always recommend Active Hands. Active Hands can be applied easily and adapted to so many exercises, I think they are a great bit of kit.”

Andy Galbraith

MCSP MLACP, Physiotherapist, Prime Physio Specialist Therapy Centre

“My grandson has a genetic disorder generally referred to as Micro Cephaly with symptoms similar to cerebral palsy.  He cannot speak, sit up, walk or control arms but is such a warm hearted little guy who loves to ride an adaptive bike.  For some reason, his little legs work on the pedals!

When he first started riding the bike, there was no way to control his arms and hands… I came across your website one night after a pretty extensive search.

Well they work as well as I could have hoped. His movement is much more controlled, he is stronger at pedalling (which is great exercise for him).  The teachers in his school, his parents, and of course myself could not be happier.  Thank you!!”

Bob Majkrzak

Buy your Active Hands Aid

You can purchase your Active Hands Gripping Aid or Aids at The Active Hands Company Amazon Store. . This is an aid which can truly be life changing and the range of different styles ensure there is something to suit every kind of buyer. It’s a revolutionary design that so many people can benefit from and Rob Smith and his family can be proud of what they’ve created.

Other Gripping Aids on the Market

Dycem® Matting

Dycem Jar Opener

Dycem® produce a wide range of non-slip matting in a range of shapes and styles which can be used in a number of ways. It can be used to hold objects in place or popped onto bottle tops and door handles to make them easier to open, turn and twist.

Gripeeze: for DIY and Gardening

Gripeze DIY Glove in position

The Gripeeze brand comes with the slogan “Get your Grip Back” and their simply yet innovative products certainly deliver this. Designed with a Velcro strap which allows for any item from spanners to hammers to be strapped securely into your grip and the leather and neoprene fabrics mean the gloves are extremely comfortable.

They’ve been designed with Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) sufferers and rehabilitation of temporary loss of grip in mind but this is far from their only use and if you live with a longer term disability which effects your grip there is absolutely no reason you won’t be able to benefit from this creation. Take a look at this demonstrative video, showing how effective the Gripeeze gloves are:

Grip-Par

Grip-Par Golfing Glove

The Grip-Par range are a little more specialised and designed for keen golfers. With both and male and female ranges, the Grip-Par gloves have been ergonomically designed to cause as little disruption to your game as possible and allow you to continue with your favourite sport despite living with your disability or injury. The Grip-Par glove can both improve your control and have received recommendations from PGA coaches and professionals. They provide a unique griplocking action which allows you to comfortably grip your club without any fear. Not designed solely for those who live with disabilities, this product has gained a much wider audience yet can still be extremely liberating for the keen golfer who thought their hobby was a thing of the past.

The right gripping aid can enable so many things, from the most basic daily tasks to enjoying hobbies and sports. We hope you can find the aid which suit your needs and really think the range available is beginning to ensure there is something for everyone.

3D Printing: How might it help disabled people?

3D Printing: How might it help disabled people?

3D Printed Products

3D Printed Products

3D printing is a revolutionary new development which has unfortunately been in the news for the wrong reasons. However when it’s looked at critically it can only be a positive move for the world’s technological and even medical industries. 3D printing can revolutionise the lives of millions of disabled people through some of its many applications.

3D: Printing the Future

The Science Museum, London has an ongoing exhibition – 3D: printing the future which looks at all the innovative ways of utilising this technology for the benefit of mankind. It showcases the power and versatility offered by 3D printing equipment and the collection includes over 600 printed objects. Some are little more than a bit of fun whilst others could genuinely be life changing.

This exhibition shows how innovative technologists and medical technicians are able to turn data into 3D printed objects which could have life changing impact. The exhibition focuses mainly on the future of modern industry, medicine and how 3D shopping could change your everyday shopping experience. Here we’re looking at some of the ways 3D printing is already being used for the benefit of people around the world.

3D Printing for Disabled People

BWyP3cJIAAA_tSjHundreds of disabled people have already been helped by 3D printed products. It has the potential to make the clinical, ugly assistive equipment more personalised and part of the person rather than an unmatched addition. This is only the beginning however and below we’re looking at the practical applications of 3D printing for disabled people.

3D Printed Prosthetics

The Nemours Biomedical Research facility at the Alfred duPoint Hospital for Children in Wilmington researched and developed a unique durable exoskeleton. This exoskeleton was made through 3D printing and it was able to be fitted to a child, Emma Lavelle, who had previously been unable to raise her arms or use her legs. As this video shows the WREX exoskeleton has revolutionised her life:

 

Further examples of the 3D printing of prosthetics can be found in Europe. An elderly woman was able to have her jaw replaced, based upon a 3D printed model of her lower mandible. The woman had unfortunately had her jaw removed due to an infection and was considered very high risk due to her age and related factors. The researchers from Belgium and Holland were able to utilise 3D printing to develop a unique jaw replacement for this lucky patient, who was able to speak and swallow normally within a single day of the operation.

3D Printed Organs

BWyOaFbIQAAsO_YThere are recorded cases where 3D printing has been used to print organs built from the patient’s own body cells. There is scope that this could revolutionise the organ donation network and whilst there are thousands of people waiting for donations another method of replacing organs really is much needed.

Using 3D printing a doctor at Wake Forest’s Regenerative Medicine Department (North Carolina) was able to develop artificial scaffolds in the shape of an organ with living cells. The department is now working towards developing printing equipment that can print these scaffolds and living cells simultaneously. The doctor in question, Dr Anthony Atala, has presented a TED Talk on the subject.

Other Applications

3D Printing

3D Printing for Facial Reconstruction

The benefits of 3D Printing for disabled people doesn’t necessarily have to be medical. There have been developments of an educational and entertainment based nature which strive towards inclusion. There have been developments of 3D printer equipment for mathematics and science study for the partially sighted, with graphs and data being accessible in a way that has never been possible before.

Equally others have been able to utilise 3D printing to build custom game controllers to support people living with physical disabilities and enhance their gaming experiences. Many different people have shown their home-developed game controllers simply through utilising 3D printing equipment and this is something which really could revolutionise people’s daily life.

There are 3D printed utensils designed to help people with fine motor difficulties and 3D printing is also allowing people who may not have been able to afford a prosthetic to build their own with the support of their families and friends.

BWyN3SlIAAATLIPTechnology can be harnessed to work towards inclusivity and with 3D printing gaining steam on a daily basis it’s clear it’s something everybody should take note of.

The Science Museum London’s insightful exhibition is accessible between 10am and 6pm every day, except over Christmas, until 15th June 2014. It gives you the chance to see this astounding technology in action and take a closer look at some of its applications.

Liverpool Mi Smarthouse

Liverpool Mi Smarthouse

Mi Smarthouse Kitchen Area

Mi Smarthouse Kitchen Area

At the Museum of Liverpool there’s a small, unassuming exhibition which looks like the recreation of a normal house. When you get inside you realise it has been setup with every possible gadget and gizmo to support independence. The Mi Smarthouse is a project put together by More Independent (Mi).

More Independent is a Government-funded initiative that is being piloted across four UK regions. As there website says the scheme exists to:

  • enable you to take charge of your health, wellbeing and lifestyle
  • use technology to allow you to feel safer and live more independently in your own home
  • give peace of mind to yourself and your family
  • reduce the amount of time you have to spend on appointments, by supporting you to manage better at home

The Mi Smarthouse at the museum is kitted out with a wide range of equipment covering all the key areas of the home. Here we’re taking a look at some of the gadgets they’ve highlighted and used in their perfect, accessible home.

General

These gadgets could be useful at any place in your home and can make it feel more safe and secure.

Fall Detector

Fall Detector

Fall Detector

A fall detector can be worn around your neck and it connected to a system which will alert your carer if you do fall even if they’re not on the premises.

Large Buttons Picture Telephone

Phone keypads can be hard to use and it can also be difficult to remember phone numbers. This phone has spaces for photographs of those people you call regularly as well as large, clear numbers for when you need to dial out.

Home Safety Alert

The Mi Smarthouse has a bonus caller panic button installed by the front door, giving the residents the chance to press the button if anyone arrives at the door who they’re not comfortable with. Similar home safety alarm system can be found elsewhere too.

Supra KeySafe

Supra KeySafe

Supra KeySafe

The Supra KeySafe is the UK’s first police approved key safe and is the perfect place to store your emergency keys. You choose a combination number and you can share this number only with somebody you trust implicitly.

Carbon Monoxide Sensor

Carbon monoxide can kill. It’s odourless and can’t be seen so the only way to sense it before it is too late is with a dedicated carbon monoxide sensor. Sensors can be easily installed and can save your life.

Fingerprint Lock

A fingerprint lock is a great option if you struggle with keys. You can add the details of your carer and friends as authorised ‘pad-pressers’ so they can get in and out with ease when necessary too.

Kitchen

We’ve talked regularly about the importance of gadgets to make access to the kitchen easier. It’s potentially a dangerous environment so anything to make it less so is a good invention in our book. In the Mi Smarthouse they demonstrated a range of kitchen-specific gadgets.

Talking Microwave

The controls on a microwave oven can be difficult if you have difficulties with your vision or dexterity. A Talking Microwave Oven can help guide you to the buttons you need and it will also tell you when the door is open or closed and let you know whether the food needs stirring or left to stand.

Induction Hob

An induction hob only cooks the pot upon it. There is next to no danger of being burned by it and they’re becoming a common installation in supported living environments to aid independence. This type of hob is also energy efficient and reaches top temperatures in record time. In the Mi House the hob was fitted but they can also be bought as separate electric units .

One cup Kettle

one-cup_kettleWe’ve talked before about how useful the one cup kettle can be. Never worry about spilling boiling water as the kettle will dispense the exact amount you need with the simple pressing of a button.

Entertainment and Living Area

Many of these items listed below could be used all around the house but are most useful when you’re relaxing in front of the TV or lounging on the sofa.

Big Switch and Remote

Big Switch Remote

Big Switch Remote

A Remote Control Big Switch can be positioned wherever you need it to avoid bending to switch off items which have plug sockets uncomfortably out of reach. The big switch can be used with any electrical appliance in the home.

Voice Recorder Switches

If speech has always been or is becoming difficult then these small voice recorder switches can be used to record key phrases. They can have messages such as ‘I’m hungry’ or ‘I want to go home’ ready recorded for when you’re home or out and about when speech has become difficult.

Chair Occupancy Alert

This item is extremely useful if you have an outside care team supporting you as it allows them to monitor the time spent out of your chair. If it seems exceptionally long they may phone you or come around the check everything is OK.

Big Jack Controller

Big Jack Multi-Controller

Big Jack Multi-Controller

The Big Jack can replace all your smaller, fiddly remotes and switches. It can be programmes for a whole range of jobs and can be used to change channels on the TV, switch off lights and even use the telephone.

Personal Care

The personal care element of the home is the most private. Both the bedroom and bathroom are places where you want to maintain as much independence as possible and some of these gadgets are designed to guarantee this as well as ensure you can get the help you need, when you need it.

Epilepsy Sensor

Epilepsy Sensor

Epilepsy Sensor

Living with any form of epilepsy or convulsions can be extremely frightening – especially if you’re alone when one occurs. This epilepsy sensor will alert an outdoor care team if a seizure is taking place, allowing them to provide the right support ASAP.

Enuresis Sensor

Enuresis Sensor

Enuresis Sensor

Designed to fit comfortable under the top sheet, an enuresis sensor will alert your carer to the fight signs of dampness whilst in bed – ensuring you’re not left uncomfortable for a long period of time. We have looked at these aids previously for helping children but they can be equally useful later in life.

Flood Detector

A flood detector will guarantee you never forget about another bath. It’s very easy to forget the bath is running but with the installation of a simple detector, it will be safe and you can avoid the risks of damage to your home and the even higher risk of slipping.

The Mi Smarthouse in Liverpool is one of the first examples of how all this technology can come together and successfully be used to help people remain in their own homes independently. You can take a virtual tour of the Smarthouse here. We recently visited the £D printing exhibition at the London Science Museum and will cover the potential benefits in a future post.