Jul 302018

We have had a request from S Wales for a ‘one handed elbow reacher’.  I wondered if this was something that could be done remotely or if anyone knows of a commercial solution.

Unfortunately, the Gwent panel is very low on engineers due to health issues at the moment and trying to cover the whole of S Wales.  Any thoughts to me please p.allchin@remap.org.uk




Dear REMAP, 10/10/17 I contacted your team  to say thank you for some excellent adaptations to crutches and kitchen tools completed by Gwent group.  I have been unable to get in touch with them, so I am asking if you can help with making a reacher that can be operated by pressing the handle with the elbow

see pictures for ‘one handed elbow scissors’ home made 3 weeks ago and work really well.

draft for ‘one handed elbow reacher’ attached, prototype made yesterday, it needs some improvements but I can pick up a shoe with it! I can’t manage that by hand because thumb-forefinger grasp too weak. 

Has REMAP made elbow-operated tools before? are they available commercially?  what do amputees use? I would be grateful for your advice,      many thanks



  6 Responses to “One handed elbow reacher”

  1. Thanks for your comments, I am passing them on. I have asked the lady if she can press a button Rupert and am awaiting a reply.

  2. Would replacing batteries with one hand be more trouble than it is worth?

    Would a spring loaded variant of this be enough:


  3. I have an idea for a motorised grabber. I have one of the type that uses a string to pull the jaws closed. It would be very simple to pull on this string using a small electric motor, operated from a button or trigger. I will do a bit more research on this tonight, but I think it would be easily achievable. Can the person press on a button…like on a video remote?

    • Hi Rupert — here’s what the lady says:

      “Hi Remap, thankyou for circulating problem.
      Unfortunately I am unable to press buttons with fingers. look again at the scissors pictures, the peripheral neuropathy damages nerves at the extremities and progresses centrally, I still have enough ‘fist grip’ in the fingers to grasp a pole. I have a ‘knee operated button’ (1.5cm diam, 1cm tall) to operate car indicators wipers etc. it is fixed to inside of driver’s door, & I’m driving confidently with it.
      Elbow & knee power are still good.
      Prototype mk 1. worked well enough to lower plastic mug over bee trapped on window so could take it outside & release. ok it is just basic ‘Mecano’ but it works, prefer to get this right before using motors – extra weight -I’ll prob need shoulder strap to carry it already. 2 problems:
      1. linkage between brake cable & trigger – metal likely to tear plastic, better if single cable or rod covered whole length .
      2. Need flat pad where pole being pressed against hip and same in lever – I can sort those out.
      many thanks for your ideas, I’ll get some more photos when someone else can do them, thanks again “

  4. For the scissors have you considered electric scissors. There are many available on Amazon etc.

    I am still thinking about the shears….mmm???!!!

    I’ll be back with more ideas. 🙂


    • I see there are also lots of battery powered pruning sheers too on the market. This may be better for dead-heading, as well as enabling heavier pruning work too.

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