Left to Their Own Devices, Some Practical Folks Create Low-Cost Gadgets to Fit Their NeedsBy Wechsler, Kathy; Quest, Vol. 11, No. 1
Publication Date: January/February 2004
Article discusses do-it-yourself devices designed by Paul McKee, who was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis in 1987. McKee designed the devices to cut costs and to provide solutions to everyday living challenges. Six devices are briefly described in the article: (1) a long shoehorn, (2) a digging tool, (3) a cupholder handle, (4) a hot plate reacher, (5) a hot transfer cart, and (6) a writing bird. To design the long shoehorn, he cut a piece of 4-inch-diameter PVC pipe in half lengthwise with a bandsaw to provide a lightweight curve for any length of a shoehorn. After heating the pipe, he attached a hook on one end for reaching or dragging. The digging tool was designed by cutting curved handles out of wood with a bandsaw. He designed the handles to be as long as needed to provide an easy reach from a sitting position. The cupholder handle was designed by cutting a piece of a 4-inch diameter PVC pipe and splitting it on one side so that the hoop could expand and fit over a larger container. The hot plate reacher began with a pair of tongs. He placed a strong hook on the top for gripping a baking pan to remove the plate safely from an oven. The hot transfer cart was designed as a simple serving cart for easy maneuverability around the kitchen. With casters and a brake, it can be moved in all directions or pushed up to the stove so that he can transfer hot plates and pots onto it. The writing bird consists of a curved piece of PVC pipe attaches to a pen with a rubber band. The easy-to-grip mechanism allows him to write by sliding it back and forth.
Published by: Muscular Dystrophy Association (Website:http://www.mdausa.org)
Link to text: http://www.mdausa.org/publications/Quest/q111diy.cfm