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Arthritis simulation gloves aid companies in designing easy-to-use products
Date:2/3/2010

te the EZ Grip lid to be sure that our lid is, in fact, easy for our consumers to use."

The gloves were designed to reduce a wearer's functional ability to grasp something and either pull or rotate it by 33-50 percent. They also stiffen an individual's finger joints and restrict the range of motion of his or her fingers. To create the finger stiffness and reduced finger strength experienced by individuals with arthritis, the gloves were designed with metal wires between layers of neoprene and other fabrics.

In addition to identifying ease of use issues with products, the gloves are also intended to raise awareness about issues faced by people with disabilities and to support programs focused on ease of use in design. Currently, the Arthritis Foundation in the United States and Arthritis Australia are using the gloves for such educational purposes.

The gloves can be purchased alone, or as part of GTRI's disability awareness kit, which also includes a low-vision simulation kit, a finger strength simulation kit and a CD training program. The finger strength simulation kit consists of finger exercises that are calibrated to certain amounts of force recommended for packaging and the training program teaches individuals how to use the gloves.

The low-vision simulation kit contains a pair of glasses that simulate common visual disabilities, including various degrees of cataracts, visual acuity problems, contrast sensitivity issues and age-related macular degeneration.

"A product manager can put the glasses on and observe products to see if he or she can read important things written in small print, like instructions or an expiration date," added Fain.

In the future, many baby boomers will likely demand the same access to products that they currently have -- even as their functional abilities decline.

"These older individuals will attribute any inability to open or use a product with deficiencies in the produc
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Contact: Abby Vogel
avogel@gatech.edu
404-385-3364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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