High Tech

Wearable Robotic Suit for Power-Lifting for Caregivers

Image of a Hal-5 Robotic ExoskeletonmedGadget recently posted a brief article about the HAL-5 exoskeleton, a Japanese invention that looks like Matsushita’s robotic arm on steriods (and with a few limbs added). The HAL-5 is also a wearable robotic device, intended particularly to give health care workers greater strength for lifting. There’s a link to an earlier medGadget article, as well as one to the original post at Engadget (English).

There’s a charmingly incoherent Google translation of an Engadget (Japanese) article from last October here, as well.

At Home DIY Everyday Gear Medical Practice

Make a Medical Record Book, Part 1 – Putting It Together

Life got a lot simpler for us when I made a medical notebook for my dad. His interest in accurately reporting relevant events and symptoms at any given medical appointment has always been minimal, and some days I was just too frazzled to rely on my own already overclocked brain.

An inexpensive three-ring binder from an office supply store made it much easier to keep information flowing and doctor visits productive. After I made Dad’s, I went home and made one for each member of my family.


DIY — Do-It-Yourself Tricks and Tips

Get near a device that even smells of ‘disability aid’ and you’re also likely to encounter a nasty bit of sticker shock. Here’s a round-up of articles I’ve written recently that suggest DIY tips for vexing life issues that might plague anyone — all of them designed to help avoid ‘disability aid’ price mark-ups.

Elastic Band for Holding Paper/Small Objects on Tray Table

No-Slip Grips for Phones, Remote Controls

Caddy/Holder for Call Button and Bed Controls

No-Slip Fleece Socks

Lever Door Handles

Non-Electric Call Bells

Easy-to-Use Light Switches

Locking Shoelaces

At Home Games/Recreation Nursing Home

Art Card Game for Mental Stimulation

Image of Renaissance Art Card GameWhen a person’s ability to interact with the broader physical world is limited, creating intellectually and visually stimulating moments can become becomes much more difficult. At the same time, quality of life may depend even more on that kind of stimulation.

At Home Everyday Gear

Tool to Keep Onions and Tomatoes Stable While Slicing

Image of a Vegetable Carving AidA kitchen accident a year and a half ago left me with two numb fingers, and a reasonable fear of knives. I’m right-handed, so I wield my slicers with that hand, leaving my left to hold steady whatever is up for chopping. Unfortunately, if the knife strays, I can’t feel it — a worrisome state of affairs.

Which is why I like these tools so much.

Medical Practice

Bristol Stool Form Scale

Image of the NHS Bristol Stool Form ScaleThis post is about excrement. Yes, I’m afraid you read that right. Those readers who are surfing while dining, who are suddenly feeling faint of heart, or who are simply disinterested are hereby excused, and invited to scroll down to less scatological posts. The rest of us will explore the uses of the Bristol Stool Form Scale.

Everyday Gear

Handy Tool For Getting In and Out of a Vehicle

Image of a Handy Bar Tool for Getting In and Out of a CarGetting in and out of cars was one of the first difficulties my dad faced when he began having problems with his spine. After his first surgery, he began clinging to the vehicle’s door for support. Watching it, and him, swaying back and forth was pretty scary — it seemed like a miracle when he got through a trip without smashing his fingers — or worse.

Games/Recreation Wheelchairs

Don’t Try This At Home

Image of the Cast of Malcolm in the MiddleEver watch Malcolm in the Middle? Remember the episode when Stevie runs away and ends up in a grocery cart being pushed through skid row? Remember another one when he doffs his wheelchair and becomes a luge-street-racer?

That was nuffin’, parents. Check this out, and then go and padlock your kid’s wheelchair:

World’s First Wheelchair Backflip

Yeah, I know — I should have titled this post ‘When Paraplegia Is Not Enough’.

Malcolm photo via

At Home DIY Everyday Gear Home Modifications Wheelchairs

Building a Skinner Air Crib

Image of a Baby Sleeping in a Skinner Air CribI recently wrote about my experiences with B.F. Skinner’s Air Crib (or if you prefer, Baby Boxes). In this post, I’ll share what I remember about how the cribs my daughter and siblings and I used were made.

At Home Everyday Gear

Sleek, Super-Size Remote Control

Image of Super Sized Remote ControlOne of my dad’s nurses and I were talking about gear the other day, and she told me about Brookstone’s giant remote control. At 5 inches wide by 11 inches long it’s never going to get lost; at only one inch deep it’s easy to hold. Best of all, the oversized keys are easy to see and to push. According to Brookstone, they even glow in the dark.

This remote is just the right size to stay on a lap without sliding around or slipping to the floor. It feels solid, but not too heavy, in the hand; the case and keys look as if they’d stand up to some abuse.

Like most such devices, it’s pre-coded for common audio-visual devices; it works for TVs, VCRs, DVD players, and satellite and cable hook-ups and other A/V items.

Super-Sized TV Remote available online from Brookstone, and possibly in their stores, as well.

UPDATE (6/10/2007): Our east coast Bed Bath and Beyond store has a slew of similar remote controls in stock for $20 (USD). Without the Brookstone logo, of course . . .

See also: Simple Remote Controls for TV