Zip fastener assister
The Client has Parkinson’s disease, with a right hand tremor and very weak left hand. He needed some device which would make it easier to do up the zip on his jacket and other items of clothing fitted with zips.
Initial discussions with the Client ruled out replacing the zip with magnets or Velcro, as this would need to be done to all his zipped clothing. The main issues were 1) holding the left hand side of the zip firmly enough to allow him to insert the mating part in the lower zip ‘slot’, and 2) once the zip was together, holding the left hand part down to keep the zip straight enough to be pulled up without ‘wrinkling’ and jamming.
Progress (include workshop details):
A ‘zipper assist’ was made from a large crocodile clip. This was weakened by adjusting the spring, and was fitted with extended ‘T’ handles to make it a lot easier to open (Figure 1).
Initially, a strap was fitted so that the Client could hold the clip downwards using his left wrist, but this proved ineffective. Similarly, a longer strap intended to go under his foot to hold the clip down as the zip is pulled up proved to be unnecessary.
The Client spent some time experimenting and practising with the clip, and found that if the clip was attached very close to the zip, the zip could be held stable enough using his weakened left hand (Figure 2).
Several visits were made to the Client to try out ‘tweaks’ to the clip, but in the end the original design proved satisfactory, with a ‘zip success rate’ in excess of 90% of tries.
The Client was very happy with the outcome.