Meet the Massachusetts 'MacGyvers' customizing equipment for people with disabilities

Meet the Massachusetts ‘MacGyvers’ customizing equipment for people with disabilities

By Jason Laughlin Globe Staff,Updated November 11, 2023, 3:09 p.m.

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Worcester is home to one of four “innovation centers” run by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where technicians can build and invent adaptive equipment to help people with disabilities. Technician Joey Watt works on a donated wheelchair, which will be rehabbed with parts from another wheelchair that allow the seat to be angled backward and forward.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

WORCESTER — Walkers and wheelchairs with missing parts or improvised upgrades crowd the floor of the workshop on the outskirts of Worcester.

At the facility, one of four Assistive Technology Centers run by the state, designers and technicians customize and adapt equipment, from shower chairs to iPads, to make them safer, more comfortable, or easier to use for people with developmental disabilities. The solutions can be as complicated as rebuilding a motorized chair, or as basic as laminating a cardboard box, as one of the adaptive equipment designers, Gabrielle Reis, discovered during weeks of trial and error as she attempted to build a tray for a [...]

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