Jul 022018

Peter, Chair of Remap Essex Central asks:

“We have a request to provide a 4 wheeled walker with drag brakes, some walkers have this as an option but the walker in question does not.  Please can you ask if any group have successfully made one and to send me the details.  It appears to be a sprung loaded roller that also is able to twist and jam if the road wheels speed up in an uncontrolled fashion.  Any help would be appreciated.  I have attached pictures of commercially available drag brakes for information.”





Jun 112018

Ashley, Chairman Essex North Panel, has requested help with the following please:

Remap Essex North have been asked to make a remote stop device for an older Kubota Mini Tractor. The Tractor is used on a Therapy Farm run by a very experienced OT.  Clients are occasionally allowed to drive the tractor once the supervisor is happy they are competent to do so and have had enough training. Currently if anything goes wrong or a dangerous situation arises the supervisor reaches over the drivers leg and pulls the stop control.  Tractor is quite old and diesel powered stopping it is possible only by cutting the fuel achieved by pulling the stop lever, this is common to most older diesel farm equipment. We have been asked to make a remote stop device, the solution we have currently is a cord (extending dog lead?) attached to the control in such a way that pulling it will activate the stop control. However, this solution is not really what is required they really want a completely remote system that the driver is not aware of , I think this is a driver confidence issue.  Remote we take to mean within 20-30M or so with safety person behind or out of direct sight of the driver whist still being able to assess the driving. Tractor is used on level ground albeit quite muddy at times.  We have thought of solenoid valves and car key fobs but all have issues with failing safe.  Has anybody made something like this?  Perhaps  a contact with a University or College could help we are open to any ideas or if you want more information do get in touch.


Ashley  essexnorth@remap.info

May 172018

Derek McMullan,Secretary, Remap NI, secretary@remapni.org, would like suggestions for the following problem please:


An OT presented me with this problem; she and her colleagues can’t solve it.

How can we help people who have lost the use of their hands, or even lost their hands entirely?

We can make a push-pull hook, but how does the person grasp it?

We can make supports to hang shirts and trousers on, but how does the person hang the clothes on the support in the first place?





May 172018

Robert Monk of the Berkshire panel is asking for help with the following please.


We have been asked to help the parents of 16 yr old with Downs Syndrome and autism who needs 24 hr supervision. He has the habit of leaving the house on his own and his parents want some way of knowing when he is leaving home.
I have suggested 2 options:

1 – A perimeter alarm system like a burglar alarm or shop door warning with sensors on each external door.  https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/burglar-alarms-and-home-security/article/burglar-alarms-and-home-security/burglar-alarms

Pros: Does not need the client to carry a transponder

Cons: Cannot discriminate between client and others, so others will have to remember to suppress the alarm each time they pass the perimeter (father works nights, so returns at odd hours).  Loud and indiscreet, neighbours will know what is happening, unless we use a system that sends a message to a smartphone. Once he has left home, there is no way of tracking him.

2 – A GPS location tracker that advises the parents when the client leaves a pre-defined area by calling their mobile. http://www.dlf-data.org.uk/products.php?groupid=3020&sortname

Pros: Can be used anywhere, at home, visiting friends, in the park, Disneyworld, etc.  Discreet alarm on smartphone.

Cons: parents believe the client will be reluctant to carry a transponder at all times.

Any better ideas would be appreciated.

Robert Monk

Berkshire Panel



Apr 232018

Mark Mercer (Leeds & Bradford) would like help with the following please:


We have been asked by an OT to source a boiler to be used by a man with no arms. He lives in a council flat in sheltered accommodation and is determinedly independent. He has a single short stump and could handle a boiler tap with a long lever but the only one we are so far aware of  does not output via a swinging arm which is a desirable feature in this case.  There are plenty of water heaters with swinging arms but the ones we have looked at so far limit the water temperature to about 75 deg. and require filling from a tap.

The management of the complex will fit the boiler but it must be sourced and approved by the OT who is asking for our help. The potential risk of scalding is the main reason the OT has appealed to REMAP.

The geyser must be:

  • The permanently plumbed in type.
  • Electric not gas
  • Not have a very high flow rate (in case a bowl or spoon is placed under it.)
  • Outlet via a swinging arm.
  • An outlet control that we can modify by way of an extension arm or remote control.

We would be most grateful if anyone is aware of a product that might fit the bill.



Apr 022018

Bernard Weatherill,   Case Officer Basingstoke Remap, writes:

We have recently had a referral for a client, a man in his twenties/early thirties, who is wheelchair bound and suffers from MS. He is a budding artist and has displayed and sold some of his work in the past to supplement his income and raise funds for MS. The issue he poses is that although he can hold a crayon quite easily the problem really lies with controlling his tremors. Ten minutes is about as long as he can last before the spasms get too bad for him to continue and even before they kick in he is unable to draw a straight line. The OT who is overseeing his case at first thought he had a problem in holding the crayon but that is not the real problem – it is his tremors. He is not keen on having weights applied to his wrists/hands but has been encouraged by a video made for the BBC Simon Reeve programme ‘The Big Life Fix’ :-



We will be pursuing details of this device and the possibility that our client might be able to acquire one. However, in the meantime it would be helpful if any of the Panels have had similar requests and have either been successful in sourcing such a unit or have details of producing a device that could provide a suitable solution to the problem.


Thanks in advance.




Mar 222018

John Hill (Wales North) writes:


I have a client with limited hand movement who is interested in using voice recognition and activation software to type into applications such as Microsoft Word documents. He uses Windows Seven operating system which does have such inbuilt voice activation software but, with limited computer experience, he is uncertain about putting it into operation.

I have tried this software using my own Windows 10 OS and, despite using the training system that familiarises it with my voice, have found it is a bit temperamental and makes many errors, a problem apparently found by many other users.

Has anyone else used this Windows software with more success or used any alternative software?  Any help would be much appreciated.

Many thanks,




Mar 082018

 Jack Rae (Carlsie & district panel) writes:

I have a tetraplegic client who, not only has no use of limbs, but also requires a tracheostomy ventilator system.  He has full facial control, speech, and a reasonable degree of head control.

 My client drives his powered recreational chair (a Boma 7) by using his chin to operate a joystick mounted on a stalk fixed to the chair frame.  The main problems with this arrangement are :  as he traverses rough ground his head rocks out of phase with chair movement so producing undesirable drive commands, he occasionally gets his chin into a position where he cannot correctly control the joystick and the effort required to perform chin movements is quite tiring over time.

 I have suggested a magnetic tongue stud working in conjunction with a series of mouth or head mounted magnetic sensors but my client is not in favour with this option.

 I would appreciate experiences or variety of ideas from panels with respect to using alternative control systems.   



Feb 262018

Just in case anyone is interested in helping Chris with this project in Zimbabwe



My name is Chris Prescott and I am a retired Paediatric ENT surgeon. I spent most of my working life at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. Since my retirement I have spent time trying to encourage the development of ENT and Hearing services in Zimbabwe – where I was brought up – and the other countries in Central Africa, assisting the few local colleagues struggling to cope in these countries.

What is the problem?

For most of the people in these countries who can scratch together an income of perhaps a dollar, or maybe more, a day, hearing aids when they are needed are totally, unaffordably expensive and even when we can provide them with a second hand donated hearing aid they cannot afford the batteries needed to keep them working. A solar powered charger for hearing aid batteries may be the answer for these but that is another development project.

What is the suggested solution?

The old fashioned body worn hearing aids are nowadays no longer seen but now that almost everyone seems to be wearing – wherever they go – a device with cords in both ears, would probably be acceptable – particularly if you were the only child in school allowed to wear one – a status symbol rather than a sign of disability!!

With this in mind and working with an enterprising inventor – Will Williams of Arclight Medical in Liverpool who has produced a solar powered combination otoscope (for looking into ears) and ophthalmoscope (for looking into eyes) – we have come up with the concept of a miniature solar powered hearing aid.

 A solar panel charges the battery incorporated into a PCB for the amplification circuit attached to the back of the panel with an input pickup microphone and output to earphones to both ears. A miniature USB port with charging circuit could usefully also be incorporated into the design for use when a power boost is needed. Whether or not an on/off switch is required will have to be considered. The circuitry would have to be waterproof sealed.

What about the amplification needed?

In these countries the two commonest causes for hearing loss are middle ear disease and various causes – including ageing – for inner ear hearing loss.

Middle ear disease tends to cause what we call a conductive deafness because of damage to the sound conduction pathway through the middle ear and this is typically a “flat” hearing loss of between 30-50 decibels as depicted on an audiogram. In other words the loss is much the same over all the tested frequencies between 125 – 8,000Hz. To boost their hearing they would need simple amplification of the same magnitude across these frequencies – probably suitable for an analogue design with a gain of about 30 decibels.

Ageing – and other causes for what we call sensori-neural deafness because the damage is to the inner ear (sense organ) or neural pathway into the auditory centre in the brain – tends to produce what we call a “sloping” hearing loss with the hearing better in the low frequencies but falling off in the higher frequencies. To boost their hearing they would need amplification that increases from low to high frequencies – needing a digital design with a gain of about 30 decibels in the lower frequencies rising to about 50 decibels in the higher frequencies.

In other words what is needed are two pre-programmed models – one for “flat” amplification and one for “sloping” amplification. Of these the priority is probably for the “flat” amplification because this is what most of the children with hearing problems require.

However, although we have got to the stage of producing a 3D printed mock-up of the concept, neither of us has the knowledge or the skills to take the design, production of prototypes and testing any further and this is what is now needed.

Are you able and if so would you be willing to help?

If so then please contact me, Chris Prescott

My e-mail address is;


I will be in the UK until 5th March and while here my phone number is




Feb 152018

Ashley (Remap Essex North)would like to know if anyone knows where: I can obtain child proof buckles for 40mm webbing. Or has anybody modified a buckle to be childproof. I have a client who can easily undo her side release buckle. Lockable ones are available in 100s at considerable cost but they need a key not sure that is a good idea. It is for a shower chair  I have a solution but replacing the two buckles with something childproof would be much easier.