Tag Archives: living with disability

Zec Reviews – Trabasack Mini Connect

The following is a wonderful review of the Trabasack Mini Connect, kindly written for us by fellow blogger Zec.

Zec has been a wheelchair user for a number of years, and we’re glad to say that his Trabasack Mini Connect seems to have provided the perfect perch for his tablet computer whilst not only out-and-about, but at home, too!

Please read on for Zec’s review and you will find further info about his blog at the end.

I have on my lap a bag/tray called a Trabasack© that was sent to me to try and review, I always review honestly. I have seen a Trabasack on Facebook and Twitter before but and here is a confession, I thought it’s something I wouldn’t need as I thought it might be for someone who has higher needs than me.

Photographic overview of the Trabasack Mini Connect in its packaging, which lists the benefits and features of the lap tray bag

A brand new Trabasack Mini Connect in packaging – ready to be tried and tested!

The one I have on my lap is the Mini Connect, it’s the smaller of the two that I was sent but I have immediately decided it’s my favourite.

It’s about 14 by 10 inches with two very sturdy fabric carry handles; on one side is a flat tray that is covered with a fabric that the hook side of Velcro will attach to. A zip with a double open zip with rings attached to the zipper that allow very easy opening even if you have poor grip, manual dexterity and arthritic hands would be able to open it easily.

Inside a zipped pocket contains a bean bag that allows the bag to mould to your legs, this means it’s not only very comfortable and this is important because my legs are very sensitive, it also means the bag is level on your lap. I use a Sony Xperia Z tablet because a laptop hurts my legs; I spend a lot of time laid in bed or on the settee and the tablet is ideal.

Photograph shows the back of a white tablet computer case, with two parallel strips of black adhesive hook tape on the back.

Securing items such as tablet computers or iPads to the surface of the Mini Connect is quick and easy, using our adhesive velcro tape.

Now that I have the Trabasack Mini Connect it’s even better, I used a pack of Trabasack Hook sticking tape, a pack contains four 2.5 x 30cm pieces and I used two pieces on my tablet case and attached it to the tray, in hindsight one piece cut into two would have been adequate because it is more than secure. I’m laid slightly to one side but the Mini Connect is still sat straight and secure, inside I have my meds for today and my mobile phone, although there is room for it on the tray and that is what I have just done now I have thought of it.

I keep my glasses secure when not wearing them by sliding an arm through one of the D rings. Laid in bed the tablet can sit on the Trabasack on my stomach or on the quilt and doesn’t slip and slide about. I have hung the Trabasack on the back of my wheelchair next to the settee to watch a film and there must be many more ways that I haven’t used yet. It is also ideal for when I have an outpatient appointment; I take my tablet along to pass the time because quite often it’s a long wait.

Now I’m not a slim person, some may even go as far as to say I had a big belly and I guess they are right. So sat in my wheelchair, my lap space is at a premium, having the tablet on my lap is awkward and I have to make sure I hold it, in between I have to put it in my rucksack on the back of my wheelchair and its almost asking for someone to steal it, but now it can sit on my lap secure and I can put it inside the Trabasack when I’m finished and know it’s in sight and safe.

Photograph of a tablet computer and iPhone attached to the tray surface of the Trabasack Mini Connect wheelchair tray bag

Here Zec’s phone and tablet computer sit safe and secure upon the tray surface of the Mini Connect.

I have had the Trabasack Mini Connect for a good few weeks, my tablet is always attached to the front and when I am not using it, I just flip the tablet case closed and it stays there. All I do when I want it is to pick up the Mini connect by the handles and onto my lap and open the tablet, it then sits on my lap so naturally, it even sits on one leg without a balance problem. Yesterday I took the tablet off of the Trabasack for the first time and honestly I didn’t like it and put it straight back on, it’s perfect and my in-laws were talking about getting one for their iPads.

The Trabasack can be carried by the handles, over one shoulder with one strap or worn like a rucksack. In a wheelchair a strap can go around your waist (unless you are a biscuit eater like me) or two side straps can attach to the wheelchair or buggy. I slide a strap around my thighs and it is secure. The thing is, the Trabasack Mini isn’t just handy because I have a disability, it would be useful on the train or in a car, its handy storage for a tablet or notebook and some extra items that you need to take along. The design is perfect and the optional media mount attachment can be used to hold an ipad, tablet or kindle at the right angle or wrapped to hold a bottle in place.

All in all a great product that serves as a bag and a surface to work on and connect your tech.

Thanks again Zec for such a fantastic and positive review of the Trabasack Mini Connect! If you’d like to read more about Zec, please visit his blog “Sat on My Butt” for lots of insightful life stories, and his journey living with chronic pain.

How will Google Glass help Disabled People?

Google Glass Logo

Google Glass Logo

Google Glass is a game changing technology that we will look back to and wonder how we did without it, like we do with mobile phones and WiFi!

New developments design for mainstream usage are in fact becoming more inclusive and giving more options for people living with disabilities. Google Glass is one such piece of equipment.

What is Google Glass?

Google Glass is a wearable computer which comes with an optical head-mounted display which is working towards the full development of a ubiquitous computer. Google Glass is being developed as part of the larger Project Glass research and development project. It takes smartphone technology and makes it even more accessible. It displays information just like a smartphone in a hands free format which allows for communication with the internet through natural voice commands.

Google Glass

The Google Glass

Google Glass is fitted with a touchpad on its side and it allows users to control it by swiping thorough its interface on the screen. The interface is much like the standard timeline we’ve come to be familiar with and this swiping motion is the only physical action needed to operate the Glass.

Voice actions are the main way of controlling the device and activating the Glass is as simple as tilting the head upwards (to approximately 30° or a preferred angle that can be altered) or tap the touchpad and say ‘OK Glass.’ Once the Glass is activated only voice actions are required and you can access the range of different facilities offered by the product. Everything from ‘Send a message to Mum’ to ‘get directions to the nearest ATM’ can be found. Search results will be filtered and then read back to the user so they can choose the most fitting one.

Google use innovative bond conduction through a transducer in the product which renders the sound virtually inaudible to others around you, allowing for a private yet interactive computing experience.

The Google Glass headset can be simply connected to your smartphone and the display is a small information screen which hovers in front of one eye. Experts in the field are describing this as the first development in what will be the next big trend – wearable technology. Rather than slipping your smartphone into your pocket you could find you’re utilising glasses, watches and other wearable devices in the near future. Prospective analytics suggest that wearable tech has the potential to be big business with sales projections for the Glass reaching 9.6 million by the end of 2016.

Google Glass for Disability

For disabled people living Google Glass presents an even bigger opportunity. An opportunity to make their environment more accessible through information.  The Glass is much more than a new toy, it can be life affirming or even life changing. Technologists suggest that speech recognition is reaching new levels of precision. They’re actually working towards profoundly deaf people being able to see real-time transcripts of what friends are saying to them in the Glass’ prism. It really could revolutionise communication for many.

Equally the Glass could also be extremely useful for people with visual impairments – with suggestions that it may be possible to take walking directions from the Glass further opening up the world for them.

Below we’re looking at two of the early Google Glass adopters, both of whom are disabled and have had their stories well publicised. How the Glass has helped their lives is truly inspirational and is a positive example of how they can be instrumental for other people living with disabilities in the future.

Tammie Lou Van Sant

Tammie Lou Van Sant -Google Glass User

Tammie Lou Van Sant -Google Glass User

Tammie Lou Van Sant was a keen photographer before a car accident left her living with permanent paralysis. The Google Glass headset has given Van Sant the chance to point and shoot again as she can simply give voice commands. It has allowed her to once again enjoy one of her favourite past times as well as its other functionalities being highly useful such as answering her own phone calls, replying to texts and making small, solo trips out thanks to Google Maps.

Alex Blaszczuk

Alex Blaszczuk is another individual living with permanent paralysis. She submitted her story to the #ifihadaglass competition and was awarded her glass this way. She highlighted how the glass would help her to ‘thrive with physical limitations’. On receiving her Glass she was able to find a new form of self-expression and the video below shows exactly how much of a positive impact it has had upon her life.

Getting Google Glass

Google Glass doesn’t have an official launch date although recent queries to Google on  November 8th suggest it may be out by early 2014. There are no official announcements now so rather than thinking about when you’ll get your own it may be worth beginning to save up!

Google Glass has the potential to revolutionise the lives of millions of disabled people. Some may be able to recapture hobbies and interests that they remember before the effects of an accidents whilst others may enjoy completely new experiences, that they have never had the opportunity to participate in.

Google Glass for Disability Updates

We intend to update this post with people’s personal experiences and applications of the Glass as they develop. Please leave a comment if you have something for us to add.

Mattress Protectors: Brolly Sheets

Mattress Protectors: Brolly Sheets

red Brolly Sheet mattress protector on single bed

Brolly Sheets are breathable and absorbent

Many of us need to use bedroom aids of one type or another. If you need to use mattress protection, you might have resigned yourself – reluctantly – to the noise, stickiness, and sweatiness of a PVC or vinyl mattress protector under you or your child.

Brolly Sheet mattress protectors, which are new to the UK but already very popular in Australia, New Zealand and the USA, could be the low-tech lifesaver you’ve been looking for. The unique top surface is comfortable 100% natural cotton, and the sheets come in five different colours, so there’s bound to be one to suit the decor. Or why not match it to your child’s football team colours?

Brolly Sheet mattress protectors have tuck-in gingham wings to hold them securely in place over a fitted sheet. Being highly absorbent, they are a big improvement on traditional mattress protection.  They hold up to 2 litres of fluid without risk of leaking, and have no PVC or vinyl to cause irritation or allergic reactions. The backing is quiet and a ‘non-sweaty’ waterproof polyurethane laminate.

Once your Brolly Sheet is wet, it’s so simple to change it without having to strip the entire bed. The sheets are machine washable and can be tumble or line dried.

Lightweight and easily portable, Brolly Sheet mattress protectors are ideal for travelling. They come in a range of sizes from single bed to king size. The cost of one Brolly Sheet is equivalent to only a few weeks’ worth of disposable mattress pads or night nappies.

Watch this video of Diane, the NZ creator of Brolly Sheets, explain them:

Reviewers love Brolly Sheet mattress protectors. One woman says she can’t speak highly enough of them, and will be getting another when she starts to toilet train her little boy. Another previously used a square protector without wings, which always moved. The Brolly Sheet stays still, it’s easy to change when necessary, and washes and tumble dries with no problems.

If you need to use mattress protectors and are fed up with sweaty, noisy sheets, Brolly Sheets are both functional and fashionable – a must-have!

At Living with Disability we have obtained some Brolly sheets at a special introductory price. We only have white single sheets and white single quilted mattress protectors, but, while stocks last, these are at an Amazon beating price!

Brolly Sheet White Single Quilted Mattress Protector including 2nd class Postage £18.95

Brolly Sheet White Waterproof Single Sheet Protector including 2nd Class postage £22.95

Buy with confidence, we are the same company that makes the award winning lapdesk travel bag Trabasack. Call 0800 567 7812 or email duncan (AT) trabasack.co.uk with any questions. Or use twitter @trabasack or @lwdisability. Alternatively the full range is available at Amazon, please click below.