Are you handy? DIY Assistive Technology

Did you know that ABLEDATA maintains a database of noncommercial and do-it-yourself assistive technology solutions? It’s absolutely true! In addition to more than 36,000 commercial AT products, ABLEDATA lists protoypes, DIY solutions, and custom adaptations to existing technology. Search for yourself!

Our information specialists contribute items for this database. We’re always on the lookout. Do you have a prototype, adaptation, or DIY project to add? Maybe you made your own umbrella holder for your wheelchair. Or created a custom seating or sleeping solution for your child with a disability. Maybe you’re a designer with a great product idea or a student with a design project. If you’re the kind of person who thinks “I wish I had an X that does Y” and then builds it yourself, we need to talk!!

NOTE: The AbleData project was discontinued in 2020. The guides developed by this project are available in NARIC’s Frequently Asked Questions. The original database has been archived and may be available in the future.

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2 Responses to Are you handy? DIY Assistive Technology

  1. Jack Bradley says:

    My wife is a stroke survivor of 18 years, and I am a retired engineer. Over the years, I have designed an built devices from low tech to high tech to assist her. Among these, are a one handed thread knotter, work table for computers and needlework stands, shoulder exerciser, eye trainer, a standing frame and recently a bio-feedback system with sensors and software displays to help recovery in mobility. I have a friend who is also an engineer with a stroke, and he has ideas that he wants to make open source. We are looking for a national forum to bring our ideas out, provide links to research papers, direct folks to other home brew sites that have relevant information and generally help folks with their DIY projects. We are concerned about staying away from issues of practicing medicine without a license, not stepping on patents. Is this the site for us to contribute to?

    • naricspotlight says:

      Hello Mr. Bradley

      Thank you so much for visiting the NARIC spotlight and taking the time to tell us about your experience!

      I would strongly recommend contacting the information specialists at AbleData ( or 800/227-0216) to talk more about your DIY experience. They can recommend many excellent resources for you and your fellow engineers. I would also recommend getting in touch with RESNA (the Rehab Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America). I believe they have just such a “special interest group”. If not, they would be a great partner for such a forum. You’ll find them online at

      As for contributing to AbleData’s DIY collection, please contact Catherine Graves at She will provide details on what items are included, formats, etc.

      —Jess Chaiken
      Media and Information Services Manager

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