Designability which was previously known as BIME or the Bath Institute of Mechanical Engineering is one of those institutions that everyone involved in accessibility and disability should know about and be aware of. They started over 45 years ago supported by the University of Bath but as a independent charity. Their slogan is “Engineering a better quality of life” and that sums up very well what they try to do.
On a day to day basis the charity has two main themes. Manufacturing and providing accessible equipment of proven designs to disabled individuals and looking at customisation for more unusual cases.
Their product list is extensive but most notably includes a Wizzybug toddler wheelchair, a pushchair for use with a wheelchair, adapted bikes for all ages and simplified electronic equipment such as radios. All the equipment is available for direct sale but much is also available for long term loan at no cost to the user. Each item has its own requirements for loan but they if you need the item they should not be two difficult to achieve.
Designabiliy’s second thread is bespoke solutions. Let them know your problem and if there’s an off the shelf solution they’ll try and point you towards it. If not they will try and adapt a piece of technology to suit your needs. They will accept requests from parents, carers, disabled people and therapists and have example case studies of everything from guitar stools to an oxygen bottle carrier for a 11 month old. These services are funded by donation.
The charity is one that anyone in the accessibility field should be aware of if you an engineered solution to a assistive problem.