Manfrotto Magic Arm

Designed for photographers and lighting engineers, the Magic Arm has found its way into many other uses. Photo by Becky Stern, via Wikimedia Commons

 

About those flexible arms with clamps… aren’t they used by photographers and lighting technicians. Well, yes. That said, the line of Magic Arms from Manfrotto are highly versatile and adaptable. So are most assistive technology professionals. This is why the Manfrotto (Bogen) 244 Magic Arm, one of many consumer devices (such as the Amazon Echo), has found use for attaching use in attaching augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices and switches to wheelchairs. (Examples of other such devices are the Amazon Echo and Samsung SmartThings.)

 

With her Accent 1400 communication device, Tess is able to do everyday tasks independently.

A Magic Arm holds Tess’s Accent 1400 communication device, enabling her to do the everyday tasks independently.

Wheelchairs come in a tremendous variety of designs. The various bars project at various angles. The Magic Arm and the device it is supporting, therefore, can be positioned accordingly. Then, once the Magic Arm has been attached, the device it carries can be positioned and changed in nearly any orientation, should the user so require. The Model 244 has a round knob at the middle of the arm; working on the principle of variable friction, this features allows for repositioning of the device with varying degrees of tightness. (Yet, it’s strong enough to hold 7 pounds!) Ball joints at either end allow for additional flexibility. The clamp holding the arm attaches to cylindrical surface; an insert allows the Magic Arm to be attached to a flat surface.

 

Still not  entirely convinced? Magic Arms are used throughout the laboratory of the International Space Station! Back on planet Earth (in New Jersey), the Magic Arm can be tried out for free.