DIY Tech


Often, people who don’t experience mobility issues or don’t have intellectual or physical disabilities take for granted the simple daily tasks we’re able to accomplish with relative ease. For others these tasks can be more difficult, even impossible without assistance. While a variety of technological solutions are being offered for these problems, the price tag may be a barrier when it comes to getting your hands on them.

            Connie Melvin and Richard Harrington at the Trinity Services TEC Lab in Joilet, IL are tackling that issue head on. They understand that technology doesn’t always need to come with a hefty price tag and fancy screens, sometimes all that’s needed are simple solutions to simple problems. TEC Lab produces DIY solutions for these daily adversities by using low-cost materials in creative ways. When Disability Cocoon’s own Dustin Wright took a tour of their facility, they showed a food/drink holder for wheelchair users with a long, flexible, semi-rigid straw for individuals who may find it difficult to grasp utensils or lift cups. What’s astonishing about this product is that TEC Lab manufactures it for nearly a tenth of the cost of comparable items on the market. As Connie says, that’s the power of DIY.

            Additionally, the folks at TEC Lab understand that it’s not just about making a product that’s cheaper, it’s about understanding the individual’s specific needs and fulfilling them. Some companies produce items that could be useful, but there’s usually one thing about it that’s just not quite right. If only it could be tweaked a little, then it would be perfect. TEC Lab gets this as well, they evaluate each individual’s unique needs in the development process to ensure that the finished product does exactly what they need it to do. They even offer classes in DIY, so that you, a caregiver, or family member can, you guessed it, do it yourself.

            We’re inspired by the people at TechLab who are working to break down the financial barriers between individuals and assistive technology. They recognize that everyone, especially individuals with mobility issues, physical or intellectual disabilities, or other impairments, deserves access to affordable assistive technology solutions. That fits right in with what Disability Cocoon is all about, sharing the great things people are doing with technology to help people improve their lives.