In search of the Ubiquitous Mouthstick

November 18th, 2014 | by dnw |

Mick (email on request) sent me this very pertinent email the other day about the un-ubiquitous nature of mouthsticks.

Lads is it just me or do we all use any given mouth-stick for a broad variety of tasks? I ask because I find that many of the solutions offered for a specific issue -in this case touch-barrier-only focus on that one use. And do not allow for the fact that mouthsticks are used as fingers. In fact I find most commercially available mouthsticks really flimsy and restrictive.
For instance, I want to be able to use the same mouthstick to turn pages, push switches, use phone or tablet, tv-remote, and who know what else on any given day. But I do not want to have to set down one stick and pick up a different one, or change heads just to carry out what may be a very breif or frequent task. (Obviously excepting painting or such) it’s just not practical. Try turning pages with these woven-wire tipped styluses,  or pushing small buttons? Is there a more holistic approach out there?

No Mick, it’s not just you. I use a mouthstick for everything. Typing and using the computer. Reading and turning pages, pushing and shuffling things around on my desk (with scant regard for my teeth.. and much angst by my dentist), operating my mobile phone, working the touchpad on (other’s) laptops when I fix them, etc etc.

A mouthstick is my hands and has to be multi-purpose and fit for such.

But you’re right. It’s a reality that the nature of most moutsticks adapted from touch screen stylus inherently have a very narrow focused purpose and therefore are less than ideal as the multi-purpose, multi-function apparatus we need from a ubiquitous mouthstick.

It’s another brick in the wall of what I’ve termed the Touch Barrier.

mouthstick close upSo it’s why my main stick is still my perspex rod with rubber thumblet one end and plastic tubing the other – as it fulfills the majority of what I do – and why I have a second stick that’s a modified metal stylus fo’r use on my mobile phone. It’s also the reason why I can’t use my phone from bed – one stick is hard enough, let alone trying to house, reach and use two, and why I tend not to buy touch screen devices.

I’m unsure whether the ubiquitous mouthstick has not yet surfaced because until now no-one seems to have raised the unspoken topic that Mick has or if a material that is both conductive and durable doesn’t exist from which to make one.

I’d be interested to hear of other’s experiences with juggling mouthsticks – please drop us a comment or an email.

Dave

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  1. One Response to “In search of the Ubiquitous Mouthstick”

  2. By Susan on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Hi, I am an OT working with a young man with an injury of C3-C4….I am trying to empower him with mouth sticks but he just doesn’t get the value of it. I do work in a nursing home so funding is …well I would rather not go there….anyway I got a free tablet for upgrading my phone and thought wow I could try this out with him….I am so glad I tried it first with my mouth stick…of course you know it didn’t work..so I need more info on how to make a traditional mouthstick work….something about copper wire mounted on the stick all the way up to the lips???? Also a little off topic but any ideas for a mouth stick holder in the wheelchair for extremely limited head movements…..any ideas on how to motivate him to the value of mouthsticks….
    any help , comments would be greatly appreciated…..please send to my email …not sure how I got here?

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