In our new regular feature, Duncan Edwards, our Disability Horizons Shop Manager and owner of Trabasack, will look at innovative new inventions and designs that could make a big difference to your day-to-day life if you’re disabled. All of them are seeking funding through Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms – an exciting way to discover and get a piece of new gadgets.
When people have an idea for a new product or life-improving design, they rarely have the money to invest into actually making it. It can be very expensive and time-consuming to even create an initial “tester” item or prototype to show people.
To raise the money, people often have to remortgage, borrow from a bank or find a wealthy individual (think Dragon’s Den!) to back them. This was until the advent of online funding platforms, such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
Crowdfunding platforms allow everyone to have a small part of the launch and production of someone’s dream invention. You choose the level at which you want to take part, and your reward varies to reflect that. This could be anything from a small souvenir or different discounts, to deluxe versions of the product or added bonuses, such as meeting the inventor for dinner (pre Covid-19 anyway!).
It can be very exciting to be part of. You will usually receive updates throughout the process, which can be very educational, allowing you to learn about the struggles and joys of an entrepreneur trying to creating something new from scratch.
You may even be the first to own a mega gadget that no one else you know has ever seen. Sometimes you and the other backers are the only ones to ever own it because it never gets into the mainstream… It’s exciting but there are risks.
Unfortunately, not every product will get made. Really, you are investing your money in the people behind the project and hoping they succeed. It is definitely not the same as buying something from a shop.
There can also be delays to production or modifications to the design. Unexpected things definitely do happen. So be aware that nothing is guaranteed and you cannot get your money back if the project fails. It’s a bit of a cross between shopping, investing and gambling!
Anyway onto my first choices…
I backed this in its original incarnation about five years ago and am the proud owner of a rare item, the Geco Hub1.0! Put simply, it’s a storage solution that holds almost anything and can be hung on the wall or used on a table.
I met and became good friends with Simon Lyons, the inventor, who happened to live locally to me. We went on to share a stand at Naidex and I helped him launch and test his Nimble Safety Cutter, which is now a mass-produced success, sold worldwide (and on our shop, of course).
We use our Geco Hub to hold toys on my son’s Trabasack tray. It’s not what Simon was thinking of when he invented it, it but shows its usefulness and versatility
The relaunched Geco Hub 2.0 has been improved so that as well as storing objects easily in the flexible disk surface, you can add objects from the bottom and sides so that even more can be held.
It’s more affordable than the original and also more compact. But despite its size, the modular design means that you can build it up to what you want – you could even have a wall of storage if you need it. It also comes in a huge range of colours.
Of course, anyone would find this useful, but there are some key advantages for disabled people:
- It can be installed at any height, so can be made easy-to-reach for you, whether you’re a wheelchair user, have pain with movement or have short stature.
- It keeps things visible if you need a reminder of where you have put things.
- It is a very tactile means of storage if you have a visual impairment.
You can find out more about the Geo Hub storage solution on Kickstarter and pledge if you think it’ll be useful for you. Simon has already reached his target and has the funds to really make this happen, so I feel that it is a very sure bet for my first recommendation. BUT HURRY, it ends on Friday 15th May 2020.
And so onto the next one, which is a bit of fun but has some serious benefits too…
Made with a special fabric containing beechwood fibre and copper threads, this unique underwear has cooling properties to destroy bacteria. This means it can apparently be worn for weeks without needing to be changed or washed. This means environmental benefits – using less water – and the convenience of never changing your underwear (ahem!!).
There will be a range of items including socks and pants for men and women.
The company has focused on how these could be good for people travelling. But, if they work, I think they could be very useful to anyone who has difficulty changing clothes, washing clothes, carrying luggage or problems with heat and sweating.
The project is already funded on Indiegogo, so you have a good chance of receiving your pair of EverPants*. Check out the full details on the Fjord website – it’s definitely not a joke and has some high-profile companies behind it.
*(They aren’t really called Everpants, I made that up. But hey, Fjord, if you want to use my suggestion, you know where to find me! You can have it for a free pair of boxers.)
By Duncan Edwards
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