Most people become reliant on certain forms of technology, which help them function on an optimal level, we may even call some of them, “techno junkies”.  However, most persons with disabilities are forced to become techno junkies.

The reason is simple - gadgets make our lives easier and improve the livelihoods of those who use them regularly. Wheelchairs, driving aids and prosthesis, are all examples of gadgets that are most commonly used by people with disabilities.

I have decided to feature the first prosthetic device that is compatible with all smart phones, as my gadget of the month. 

I Limb Ultra Revolution Hand

Every finger of this “smart” hand bends at the natural joints, which enables it to accurately adapt and fit around the shape of the object its user wants to grasp.

By using its pulsing and vari-grip features, the robotic hand, has the ability to gradually increase the strength of its grip on an object. This feature is especially useful in situations where a firmer grasp is required, such as tying shoelaces tightly or holding a heavy bag more securely.

Customize the hand for your daily needs

This device features a wide selection of automated grips, which help you complete your daily tasks, such as, index point for typing, precision pinch mode for gripping small objects, or natural hand position for walking or resting.

The best feature of this hand is that you can download its mobile application for your smartphone with additional 24 grip patterns that you can adjust at home via Bluetooth.  Amongst these grip patterns, are gestures like “victory” or “thumbs up” or any other custom gesture you can think of.

I first saw the hand at the Tshwane University of Technology, while I was lecturing to the final year prosthetic students and I give you one guess which gesture all the youngsters wanted to see…

Teacher gets new Rotary wheelchair

Please help? In Engcobo, there is a teacher who cannot get to school because his wheelchair needs repairs and he cannot find another one to take him to work whilst the other one is being repaired. Please assist in whatever form?

This email attracted the attention of SAOPA administrator, Stanford Slabbert, who decided to help. An application was made to the Rotary Club of Algoa Bay, based in Port Elizabeth, who had a consignment of wheelchairs from America. The club approved the request and Time Freight, couriered the wheelchair to East London, via contacts at the Association for Persons with Physical Disabilities (APD), Nelson Mandela Bay.

East London based Orthotics & Prosthethics practice, Bolton & Midlane, who are SAOPA members, has a daily delivery service to Mthatha and the chair was soon at their rooms in Mthatha. The elated teacher, Dumisa Ngqonqwa, 49, who suffers from a spinal hunch and has had his leg amputated many years ago, travelled to Mthatha to collect it.