Mechanical engineer and C5/6 quadriplegic Riël Haupt has designed a reacher that not only makes picking up or reaching objects a lot easier, but is also affordable. He has made the product available through his business, Q-Adapt. It is only the start of his journey to empowering quadriplegics.
“I started a business that focuses on adaptive devices for quadriplegics. The first product is a reacher that allow quads to pick up fallen objects from the ground, reach into cabinets and take things off of shelves,” Riël says.
“I realised that these products are too expensive for South Africans as it is made in the United States and Europe. I designed my own one. I sell my locally made reacher for half the price of the current available products on the market [of which most are imported],” he adds.
With his own limitations, Riël is the perfect person to design a product for quadriplegics, understanding their needs very intimately, but also the ideal person to test the products.
“I’ve designed the reacher to be more functional. I’ve tested it, and the results are very satisfactory. I no longer need assistance to pick up objects that fall from my desk and can hang my clothes in the closet,” Riël notes.
In addition to the reacher, Q-Adapt also sells triangular struts, which is bolted to a wall to work as a table top. Riël explains what inspired the design: “The legs of my desk was a nuisance and the space in my work area is limited. With the wall-bolted struts and table top, my work space is more spacious and wheelchair friendly.”
To further expand his product offering, Riël is designing a wheelchair! He says: “I am currently busy with an off-road wheelchair, also for quadriplegics, but which can be used by paraplegics as well. The wheelchair is already built, but I want to give it a proper test before I start selling. It was my design project for my final year of study and I’m hoping to release the product in this year .”
The reacher ranges from small (R1 500) to medium and large (R1 600 for either).
To learn more about Q-Adapt, visit the Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/Q-adapt.