Retractable Arm to the Rescue

9524618163_011eeee392_mAre you one of those people who covers their wheelchair in every wheelchair accessory possible? Are one of these accessories a retractable arm? If so, I don’t blame you for putting this particular accessory on your chair. It’s one of the best out there.

This sweet accessory is the go-to device for wheelchair-users when they need things such as their books, laptops, iPads and phones held in front of them for easy access. It’s like having an assistant who is always there holding your book up to your face whenever you feel like reading. It’s a pretty awesome thing they have, especially when you can’t move your arms well.

Since being invented, there’ve been several retractable arms made by several manufacturers. And now days, they’re often referred as “iPads mounts” for marketing purposes. But whatever you use your retractable arm for, it’s important to figure out what kind you need. Right now, only manual retractable arms are for sale commercially. However, a design dreamt up by an assistant professor at Purdue University, and currently being promoted as a viable commercial product in their Office of Commercialization Technology, may soon change all of that.

His design is called the RoboDesk. What it is is an automatic retractable arm. With the touch of a button, the arm will move forward and bring your iPad, book or whatever you have on it, up to you without you having to lift a finger. You can almost hear the Jetson’s theme song as you watch it in action. Also, a flat surface comes along with the iPad, making it much more than a folder, but a true desk. This is possibly the most perfect wheelchair desk setup if you can’t move your arms well.

For manual wheelchair users, or those who can move their arms without any hindrance, a RoboDesk may not be quite what they need; an automated system may just make them lazy too. In that case, a manual retractable arm may be better suited for their lifestyle, and believe it or not you can get a wheelchair mount from Costco. It’s called the Joy Factory Charis Wheelchair Mount with MagConnect for iPad and it only costs $139.99.

Otherwise RAM Mounts sells even less expensive wheelchair mounts, selling their base model for only $85.94. It works with all iPad and iPhone generations, and is pretty much ideal for Mac users. Lastly, if you have access to a large amount of money, another quality retractable arm you could consider is the Mount ‘n Mover, an arm that costs a whopping $799.99.

It costs so much because it’s highly adjustable and sleek. Many people have gotten DVR services to cover this particular product since it can be so handy in educational and workplace environments. Check out their site here

There’s no doubt the retractable arm is infinitely handy, and with the possible powered version around the corner, especially the powered one being promoted by Purdue, this clever product isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Have you used a retractable arm? Was it the boon they claimed to be or did it just get in the way or break more often than it was usable?

- Learn more about the RoBo Desk

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