MZ_Mechanics-Badge.gifOne of our readers, Milton Ammel, sent us images of this clever little hack he did to his mother’s “grabber tool” so that it could both trigger the latch on the door and grab the handle. So simple. Funky, but effective. Milton writes:

This is a door opening device I made for my handicapped mom. As you can see, I took a regular “grabber” and then measured the height from the handle up to the “door button” and superglued a paint mixing stick, supported by a short prop. To increase “grabbing ability,” I put Velcro on both left and right “graspers” of the grabber, and Velcro on the door handle. It works as advertised!

I spent several years semi-wheel-chair bound. It was a very unpleasant experience, made even more so by the poor designs of a lot of this type of assistive technology. I was constantly thinking of hacks like this (e.g. I glued magnets to the ends of some of my grabber tools to pick up small metal objects). I thought seriously about teaming up with an engineering/robotics department at some university to collaborate on some of my design ideas.

During this month’s theme of Physical Science and Mechanics, it’s good to be reminded of the great utility in knowing basic physical science and how the mechanical world interacts. It allows you to identify problems, as Milton has here, and to engineer often simple solutions that have disproportionally large impacts on one’s quality of life.