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MAGIC-HAND: A bottle and jar opening machine for people with severe disabilities

Lorentzon, U. and Bolmsjo, G. and Doyle, M.J. and Carus, D. (2007) MAGIC-HAND: A bottle and jar opening machine for people with severe disabilities. Mechatronics, 6 (2). pp. 79-88. ISSN 0957-4158

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This paper describes the development of a prototype product named MAGIC-HAND that has been developed to open bottles, jars and packages that require a twisting action. Its intended users are people with severe disabilities, who are not capable of using the current range of package opening tools. MAGIC-HAND is a kitchen accessory device that fits into standard kitchen furniture. The machine uses novel design approaches applying human-centred virtual prototyping methodology. It is highly automated so users need only place the package in the machine, close the door and activate the machine with a single touch of a button. The machine automatically centres the package, grips its base, senses the height of the closure, grips it and twists it open. Safety features are provided to ensure fingers cannot get trapped accidentally. User trials have highlighted both the advantages and disadvantages of the machine. A comparison with current jar and bottle opening machines is provided. Routes to commercialisation are discussed.