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Flash Light Features and AT for people with upper body/hand or cognitive impairments

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Introduction

The use of a flash light can be essential during an emergency or while in a dark space. With the huge variety in the market, it’s hard to find the right flashlight with the suitable feature to fit your use. This becomes even harder when you have an impairment that can make it tougher to operate some of the flashlights. This article will be focusing on people with upper/hand impairments and people with cognitive impairments and which kinds of flashlights would be best for them.


People with Upper Body/Hand Impairments

What Should They Look For in a Flashlight?

People with upper body impairments suffer from problems with fine motor control, trouble reaching and lifting. Impairments on one’s hands can be a result of aging or various conditions such as arthritis. Due to upper body or hand impairments, a person can have a hard time holding onto a flashlight or operating one. Therefore, the people with such impairments should first look for moderate diameter on a flashlight. Too small or too large can be difficult to grasp and carry. Another design feature they should look for is large rubber grip that goes around the flashlight which prevents the flashlight from slipping out of the person’s hand or from the surface they put it on. When it comes to the on/off switch, they should look for switches that require low physical effort. Flashlights with the small buttons that require the user to apply mild force to turn the flashlight might be uncomfortable to use for people with hand injuries or arthritis. The easier option would be the big slider switches. Battery replacement is another important issue to look into when buying a flashlight. The flashlight should be easily disassembled to get to the battery compartment. If it’s under a twist on/off cap, it should be easy-to-grasp cap. Weight of the product can also be an issue when carrying it, so user should also pay attention to how much the flashlight might weigh when choosing one.

Existing Technologies

First example for the type of flashlight described above is Energizer Compact LED flashlight. This model has a rubber grip on the lower half of the flashlight to hold onto and has a slider switch. Battery compartment is easily accessible by twisting off the front piece of the flashlight and it’s covered with the same grips to make it easier to twist.

Energizer Compact LED Flashlight
Energizer Compact LED Flashlight

Next one is Ultrabright LED flashlight. Even though this one has a push button operation, it’s still easy to operate. Its textured body makes it easy to grasp which is also used on the cap for the battery section.

Ultrabright LED Flashlight
Ultrabright LED Flashlight

Another good example is Eveready Brilliant Beam Flashlight. Simple grips and big slider switch makes this another low physical effort design, good for people with upper body impairments. This can also be a good choice for the cognitively impaired due to its distinctive button and battery cap placement.

Eveready Brilliant Beam Flashlight
Eveready Brilliant Beam Flashlight


People with Cognitive Impairments

What Should They Look For in a Flashlight?

People with cognitive impairments can have problems in mental functions, such as intelligent judgment, learning, memory, speech and thinking. Therefore, these individuals should look for simple and intuitive design in flashlights. Perceptible information on the product also holds a key to a successful operation of the flashlight in these cases. The battery compartment should be clearly distinguished/marked or both on the flashlight. On/off switch also should be distinctive in either color or size to indicate its importance. There shouldn’t be any complex assembly to the operation of the product.

Existing Technologies

For cognitively impaired, Eveready Economy Brightlight is a good option due to its simple design. Color distinction between the button and the body of the flashlight helps the user to easily recognize where to turn on the product. Color difference is also made on the top cap to make it easier to spot where the battery compartment is.

Eveready Economy Brightlight Flashlight
Eveready Economy Brightlight Flashlight

Another choice can be the Duracell Explorer Flashlight. It has the on/off button framed by a raised rectangular to indicate its importance and to separate it from the other similar shapes on the flashlight.

Duracell Explorer Flashlight
Duracell Explorer Flashlight


Product Links


Author: Cana Saatcioglu
Affiliation: College of Architecture in Georgia Tech