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Developing products to serve people with disabilities

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology Transfer facilitated introduction of many new and improved products into the marketplace to meet employment, education, recreation, and independent-living needs of people with disabilities and the elderly.

“The products that we’ve brought to market actually have made a difference for people. We are in the community identifying the needs of people who are disadvantaged.” Stephen Bauer,
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Science, School of Public Health and Health Professions

More than 40 products have been placed in the hands of consumers by the center, a unit of the Center for Assistive Technology in the School of Public Health and Health Professions. Potential users were consulted as part of product development. They came together in focus groups to assess prototypes, suggest ways to make the products as serviceable as possible.

Robbie Stanfield, who was born with no left hand and has carpal tunnel syndrome in her right hand, was on the ground floor of testing what became the very successful Black & Decker® LidsOff™ Automatic Jar Opener, a boon to persons with poor grip strength.

Stanfield participated in local focus groups that examined several different stages of prototypes and suggested ways to make the jar opener as close to an “ideal” product as possible. She also put the device to the test.

The automatic opener, she recalls, “helped me tremendously”—so much so that one now resides in her Buffalo kitchen.


“Need help with that?”
Human element paramount in center’s work designing and developing assistive devices.

“Need a special gift for a special person?”
Products developed at UB make life—and giving—easier.

“PointSmart mouse software helps children and adults with disabilities 'point and click'”
Mouse software, wheelchair braking system, automated pill crusher, and automated captioning system are among new products emerging from UB’s research center.

Sherman Hall on UB's South CampusSchool of Public Health and Health Professions