Introduction: Wall Reacher
Individuals who use a wheelchair for mobility or have limited use of their legs often have difficulty reaching items on their walls; this includes wall clocks, paintings, and pictures. A device is needed for individuals with mobility constraints from the waist down to be able to hang, reach, and attach items to the wall.
This device will be tailored for people with movement disadvantages such as being constrained to a wheelchair or having limited use of their legs. Those in wheelchairs cannot reach high places easily making it difficult to hang things on the wall as with those with limited leg usage who find this task difficult even with being able to reach the higher places.
Reachers are simple devices to help people grab and hold objects. They are used, most commonly, when a person has limited use of their arms, hands, or fingers. Such people cannot grasp many objects and a reacher helps them hold things by themselves without the help of another person. They are also used by people who are confined to wheelchairs or are bedridden because they cannot reach certain objects that are too far away or are high up. Reachers allow for more independence and are a big aspect of life for a lot of people with movement constraints as it allows them to complete tasks on their own. Reachers are useful to those with movement constraints during their everyday tasks, but it can be difficult for them to take objects on and off the walls or to adjust the ones already on the wall. Such a reacher is not currently on the market requiring those with movement constraints to have to ask for help from other individuals with things too high up on the wall for them to reach.
This device is a modified reacher in which we alter the clamp. The clamp is specifically altered to have one of the arms be a thin sheet of metal to act as a wedge that slides under objects that are hung on walls. The sheet has a soft material on the outside edges so that it can slide up walls without leaving a mark or damaging the wall in any way. The other arm of the clamp is similar to a normal clamp arm with a grippy surface to hold on to the object. When the clamp is squeezed, it locks in place so that the user is not required to use grip strength for the entire time the object is being taken off the wall. There is also a release button so that the clamp can release the object once it is taken off. The reacher will have a long shaft so that it will be able to reach anywhere necessary.
Removing an Object from the Wall
If reacher head is not already open, press the red button and squeeze handle to open the head (do not have to keep squeezing handle, just squeeze fully once and release)
Have a strong and steady grip on the device and slide the sheet of metal under the back of the object of the wall from the bottom
Once metal is behind object, use this to pull the bottom half of the object away from the wall and slide the rest of the reacher head up so that it can clamp the object
Once the reacher head is in a position so that it can grab the object, press the red button and squeeze the handle (do not have to keep squeezing handle, just squeeze fully once and release), this will lock the head of the reacher in the closed position so that the object is secured in the reacher and can be maneuvered
With two hands, carefully lower the reacher head towards your body so that you are in a position to hold the reacher with one hand and grab the object with the other hand
This is easiest if you lower the reacher with the object to lay across your lap
To release the object from the reacher head, press the red button so that it is in the upmost position and squeeze the handle once
Make sure to hold the object with one hand during this process so that it does not fall
Placing an Object on the Wall
Place the object in between the clamps of the reacher head so that the reacher is clamping the object from the bottom and when it is lifted, the object is right-side up. Make sure that the side of the claw with the metal sheet is on the front face of the object because it will get in the way of putting the object back on the wall otherwise
Secure the reacher head in the closed position around the object by pressing the red button into the down position and squeezing the handle once, this will keep the reacher head closed without assistance
Raise the reacher with two hands to the position on the wall the object is supposed to go
For extra support place the metal wedge against the wall and push it up the wall for support from the wall, especially with heavier objects
Adjust the object to be hung on the wall and once it is in a secure position and ready to be released, press the red button so that it moves into its upmost position and squeeze the handle once, opening the reacher head
Carefully slide the reacher head out from under the bottom of the object and safely lower the reacher to your lap
- Risk of falling objects
- The slipperier the surface/face of the object, the higher the risk of it falling out the side of the reacher’s head
- Heavier objects have risk of being top heavy and harder to balance, make sure to hold the reacher with two hands for as long as possible
- Also with heavier objects: while pressing the button locks the claw in a closed position, this is not always sufficient with bigger objects and will require squeezing the handle for more security
Care and Maintenance
- Does not require much maintenance
- Avoid cleaning with water as that will rust the metal
- Can clean the plastic handle with a paper towel, water, and soap or a Clorox wipe
- Undo the bolt attaching the wedge and metal sheet to the claw of the reacher
- Drill a small hole at the top of a new metal sheet (3” x 4”)
- Line up the holes of the claw, the wedge, and the metal sheet in that order to sandwich the metal piece between the claw and suction cup
- Screw back in the bolt to hold them all together
Improvements and Extension Projects
To improve this project in the future, there are various things which could be done to make the reacher more effective and more useful. The first of these is a way to remove fire alarms from walls so that they can be adjusted, or the batteries can be changed etc. This can be done in a variety of ways depending on the type of fire alarm that needs to be taken off the wall. Another improvement to this project would be the addition of a retractable shaft for the reacher so that it can be easily compacted and transported if necessary.
Resources and References
Bartosch, K. (2018, December 14). What Can Be Used on a Chair to Prevent Paint Scratches on
Walls? Retrieved from https://homeguides.sfgate.com/can-used-chair-prev...
How To Install a Smoke Detector. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.homedepot.com/c/ah/how-to-
install-a-smoke-detector/9ba683603be9fa5395fab900b634d44 No Damage Wall Hangers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/slp/no-damage-wall-hangers...
Sadiq, T. (2017, November 3). The Best Reachers Recommended for People with Limited Mobility:
HPFY. Retrieved from https://www.healthproductsforyou.com/ar-find-the-...
12 Best Reacher Grabber Tools Reviews In 2020. (2020, February 22). Retrieved from
Metals Depot. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.metalsdepot.com/alloy-steel-products/
1. Button-operated reacher
- Quantity: 1
- Price: $19.13
2. Aluminum sheet (3" x 4")
- Quantity: 1
- Price: $2.43
3. Drill (at home)
4. Saw (at home)
5. Screws for Wood (at home)
- Quantity: 2
Step 1: Purchase Base Materials
Purchase an existing button-operated reacher and a 3x4 inch metal sheet
Step 2: Set Up
Remove the screw that attaches one of the suctions to the claw of the reacher and drill a hole on the middle edge of the sheet of metal that can fit the screw through it
Step 3: Wooden Wedge
Cut a square piece of wood, 1” x 1” x 1”, into a wedge that can lower the angle of the metal sheet as it fits onto the claw of the reacher to a more vertical position
Step 4: Drill
Drill another hole through the wedge with the same diameter of the hole of the metal sheet
Step 5: Assemble
Use screws for wood to attach the wedge and metal sheet to the claw with the metal sheet on top