DIY is a very popular activity, especially among those of retirement age with more time on their hands. But power tools, essential to many basic home improvement tasks, are almost always designed without taking into account the physical impairments that result from ageing. This causes many older people to give up DIY prematurely.
The Gofer is a ‘pebble-shaped’ screwdriver that fits easily and ergonomically into the palm of the hand. The compact design means that screws can be accessed in tight spaces. The generous proportions of the handle allow all users to grip the tool with ease. This is especially important for people with poor grip or arthritis. The screwdriver is cordless and is charged through a base unit. The motor is activated when the screw bit is pressed into the screw.
The Sandbug is a handheld palm sander shaped to fit the palm of the hand. It has a Velcro hand strap that removes the need to grip it and has vastly reduced the level of fatigue felt when using sanders.
Both products carry a friendly rather than industrial aesthetic placing them firmly with the house rather than toolshed. They are finished in black, durable plastic with high contrast blue for the switches and interfaces.
The Sandbug (a palm sander) and Gofer (cordless screwdriver) were developed and tested with groups of older people and are therefore easier for everyone to use. Importantly, the tools were styled as mainstream, lifestyle products to appeal to people of all ages whilst aiding those with lesser physical ability. They demonstrate an important new approach to designing tools specifically for the domestic market.