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Gripability: Get a grip on life - thanks to handling technology

2006-04-23 15:37 (comments: 0)

Who until recently believed that pneumatic grippers could only be used for a production oriented material flow, will have to rethink: Patrick Oeffner from Vogelsberg in Germany has developed a gripper system for handicapped people, which will make life much easier for a lot of affected people. He was, and still is, generously supported by the Bavarian firm of FIPA, a recognized specialist in industrial vacuum and gripper systems.

After having being paralysed from the neck down, the 35-year-old artist was looking for a way to cope with every day life. Through the Internet he got into contact with the handling specialists of FIPA in Ismaning near Munich.

Here he not only found a 15 g Mini gripper, but also an open minded sparring partner, who spontaneously helped him with advice and products to enable him to turn his idea for a gripper system for handicapped people into reality quickly. After just a few weeks Patrick Oeffner with the help of FIPA had already finished a prototype of his system with a patent already pending. The control of the pneumatic gripper can be adapted to the individual capabilities of the user - with a manual switch (as in Patrick Oeffner's own case), with the mouth, or voice-controlled.

Writing tools, drinking vessels, cutlery and much more - the FIPA grippers with 15 or 50 g optionally, will grip it securely and sensitively: even the small pliers produces an astonishing 15 N of gripping power while being opened at 10 mm.

"In FIPA I have found an interested sparring partner that can assist me with a whole truckload of ideas, and who have already offered me their support for the ongoing development of the system", the 35 year old tetraplegic (the medical term for someone who is paralysed from the neck down) eagerly anticipates. On his homepage interested people can get a good impression of the development stage and the possibilities of his system - and order their own gripability solutions, if necessary.

"For us it is very important to look beyond the horizon of industrial standard applications", FIPA general manager Rainer Mehrer describes the innovation philosophy of his company, " and when indeed we have the opportunity to help people, it fills us with a very special kind of pride."

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