Nimble is a finger operated device that enables people with hand disabilities to safely and easily open awkward food and drink packaging. Many people with such disabilities have reduced grip and dexterity in their hands, causing difficulties when opening such things as pill blister packs, microwave meals and peel-top milk bottles. People often resort to opening these packaging types with knives or scissors, both of which require a high level of dexterity and co-ordination and can be dangerous to use in this manner. Nimble offers an easier, safer and more versatile means of cutting open packaging. It fits on the end of one finger and uses the pressure of the fingertip on packaging to extend a small blade for cutting. The blade is safely retracted when not in use. This innovate method of opening packaging removes the need for high levels of hand strength or dexterity and allows for safer use than with alternatives. Nimble can be easily disassembled for cleaning or blade replacement.
Over 12% of people over 50 suffer from some form of severe hand related disability such as arthritis. This equates to over 2.3 million people in the UK alone. It is these people that often have extreme difficulty in opening food and drink packaging, a task that is essential when living independently. One solution many people resort to is to use scissors or knives, but these require a high level of dexterity and can also be dangerous when used in such a way. Other specialised solutions exist on the market already which are designed to help with opening packaging, these however tend to be too specific to particular packaging types and don’t provide an all-encompassing solution. Furthermore these specialised tools still require a level of dexterity in the hands. These two problems; poorly designed packaging and inadequate existing tools, inspired me to create an inclusively designed solution which was safer and easier to use and more versatile than the competition.
Several prototypes have been produced to test the ergonomics of Nimble as well as its functions. A fully working prototype has been produced which can be comfortably used to open a wide variety of packaging types. The patent pending design of Nimble uses just two components which have been optimised for mass production via injection moulding. Both components have been designed so they can be assembled and disassembled easily by someone with a hand disability, either for cleaning or for replacement of the cutting blade. All materials used are recyclable and the co-moulded rubber and plastic of the outer sleeve have been selected to be compatible with each other so that they can be recycled as one. The uses for Nimble extend far beyond simply opening food and drink packaging for the elderly and less able bodied; Nimble can be used as a highly intuitive craft knife, as an easy parcel opener and to cut foils, films, wrapping paper and tape whilst keeping nine fingers free for other tasks.