Honey, can you open this jar for me?

February 17, 2010 at 7:28 am Leave a comment

It’s just a typical day.  I wake up, walk into my bathroom and open the drawer to get an elastic band for my hair and my toothbrush and toothpaste.  I squeeze and pull the elastic band in one hand and manipulate my hair in the other to fasten it into a ponytail.  I twist the cap off of my toothpaste and give it a squeeze with one hand while holding the toothbrush in the other, so that I can prepare to brush my teeth.   

I walk into the kitchen and pull the lid off the coffee can to get my morning cup of Joe ready.  As my coffee is brewing, I open up my pantry, reach in and twist off the cap to my daily vitamin and make sure I take it with breakfast.  This is a very brief synopsis of my morning routine with many of the details left out.  I have not yet eaten breakfast, showered or dressed, and I have already pulled, twisted, squeezed, manipulated and opened; I cannot even imagine what this would be like if I had arthritis.  

As we move through our day we many times take for granted all of the movements we make with our hands.  The effortless motion of opening a salt, pepper or ketchup packet.  The thoughtless manipulation of a soda can.  Research being done at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has changed this mindset and has created “a pair of arthritis simulation gloves, which reproduce the reduction in functional capacity experienced by persons with arthritis”.   

The purpose of these gloves is to give input to product designers and managers regarding how their products will be managed by a person with arthritis.  It is this kind of forward thinking that will help to propel the idea of universally designing products from the beginning to meet the needs of many users.

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Entry filed under: Arthritis. Tags: , , .

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