BODY WATCH : Pain Killers


For years now, those sealed spouts on milk cartons have defied the laws of dexterity, but for the 40 million Americans with arthritis, the task is nothing short of painful.

So, the Arthritis Foundation and Tylenol joined forces. They sent the word out nationwide about a contest for consumer products designed specifically for people with arthritis (or limited hand mobility). The incentives--including money, prestige and a little glory--in some cases inspired good old Yankee ingenuity.

The five students and five companies (whose products are on the market) were selected for the 1995 Tylenol/Arthritis Foundation Design Awards “according to benefits to the user, unique and appropriate innovations, and trans-generational and visual appeal.”


Here are the honored designs with new twists on familiar products.

Milk Carton

Adam Bloom, Georgia Institute of Technology, $1,000 Grand Prize.

The carton is easy to open as well as to pour, store and transport. Stick a finger or pencil into the hole and gently pull up. Push back down, and the top collapses and seals.



Amir J. Dia, California State University, Long Beach, $500.

The compact disc box opens and closes easily with a sliding mechanism that, when opened, elevates the disc. That takes care of having to spread the hand and press the top with finger and thumb to jiggle the case open. Also facilitates grabbing the disc.


Ladybug Timer

Scott Slogan, Rochester Institute of Technology, $250.

This kitchen timer is activated by rolling the ladybug’s underside against a flat surface. The design replaces the usual crank-knob, which requires pinch-grip and twisting movements.


Blister Pill Package

Michael Bressler, Georgia Institute of Technology, $250.

The packaging makes for easy opening because of a built-in device that ejects the pill from the casing. No more pressing hard with the thumb or resorting to nail scissors.


Seed/Food Packet

Jason Kramer, Rochester Institute of Technology, $250.

The package, which holds dry foods or seeds, opens with a perforated pull tab that eliminates twisting or pinching.


Fiskars’ Softouch Scissors

Oversized scissors have cushion-grip handles. The spring mechanism reduces motion and relieves pressure on hands and joints.



Rubbermaid’s EZ Topps Kitchen Containers

The extra-large lip on the lid can be opened with any part of the hand or by catching the lip along a countertop edge. Pry and yank no more.


Ergonomic Logic’s Ergorest Arm Support

The armrest, which attaches to a desk or computer table, gives arm support when working at a computer keyboard. The elbow rests on the round pad, thus reducing fatigue in the upper arms and shoulders.


Schlage’s Door Lever

This door handle can be depressed with a hand, fist, arm or even your hip. The lever does away with gripping and turning of traditional doorknobs.


Mascot Metropolitan’s Luggage

The Tutto line uses a four-wheel-drive. The lightweight suitcase puts less strain on the back and arms.