Innovation reigns

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

ATLANTA - MacGyver couldn't have done it better himself. With a string and a drum pedal, a simple idea became this year's Providers Choice at Medtrade, one of three new product winners at the show.
The Foot Flush is a retrofit pedal that allows users to flush toilets hands-free.
Eric Herbst, CEO of North Haven, Conn.-based Foot Flush, is a musician who didn't like touching toilet handles in the less-than-pristine nightclub bathrooms he frequents.
"I was always thinking there had to be an easier way than flushing with my foot," said Herbst.
The Foot Flush installs with a cable that attaches to a standard tank toilet and is useful for patients with limited mobility, pregnant women and children who are learning to flush.
The Innovation Award went to Magic Wheel's 2-Gear Wheelchair Drive, a lightweight, geared wheel for manual wheelchairs that, when engaged, creates a 2:1 ratio for every revolution of the hand rim.
"With our wheel, if you come across any terrain or incline, you can reach down to the hub and there's basically some paddles that you can push forward and it engages the reduction gearing," said Allan Boyd, vice president of business development for the Seattle, Wash.-based company. "It's literally twice as easy to get up the hill--it takes 50% less effort."
That, in turn, eases shoulder pain for wheelchair users, who frequently suffer degeneration that requires surgery.
"To go up even a small hill, it's tough," said Boyd. "Your shoulder is not designed to do that."
The CosySafe Bed, from Kinderkey Healthcare in the United Kingdom, won the Merit Award for its safe sleeping design for children.
The bed features soft safety sides around the entire mattress that attach to a base sheet, reducing the dangers of asphyxiation and entrapment associated with metal and wooden bed rails.