Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sugru, Where does it fit into my Assistive Technology Tool Box?

Sugru.  What is it you ask?  Well, I first heard about Sugru on Indata Project's weekly podcast, Assistive Technology Update (March 18, 2013 episode).  So on whim, I contacted Sugru and asked for a sample to try and figure out how I could incorporate it into assistive tech I use with my students.  This turned out to be much harder than I thought.

Sugru is a self-setting silicone rubber.  It comes in small packages, in a variety of colors.  According to its manufacturer, Sugru is resilient in heat and cold, waterproof, durable, and flexible.  It can be manipulated for 30 minutes, before curing begins.  In 24 hours, you have a durable product with a variety of purposes.  But how will it be helpful to me, as an OT?
Of course, I sat on it for a while. And thought.  But it was only until my husband came home with a broken ear piece from his headset did the first application take place.  Using a pliable wire, he created a mirror match to the other ear piece, covered it in Sugru; and voila, in 24 hours he had a working headset again.  It has now been nearly a month with reports of comfort and success.
However, not all projects were successful.  Thinking that some children need specialized pencil grip I figured I would make one for myself.  I kneaded the Sugru, formed it over my stylus.  Twenty four hours later, I had a VERY adhered grip.  It was firm but comfortable.  But I realized soon, that it can be punctured with a fingernail.  I am a picker.  I can't help it.  So once I found something to pick, I had every millimeter of this blue rubber in bits and pieces on the floor.  And I'm not a sensory kid.  I would be very concerned about a child accidentally destroying and eating it.  Granted, it states "Sugru should not be used by children." But even for adults with physical disabilities, with children around I would take caution.  It looks so inviting like play doh, but it is a silicon rubber.  Just be careful.
Of course, you can mold it and adhere little buttons to things, like a computer mouse, or modify handles of brushes to make a more comfy grip.  But for $10, for 15 grams of material, I am not sure if it is an affordable option; and it has a relatively short shelf life prior to using (6-18 months).

Sugru is an interesting material with the potential for a variety of applications, I am just not sure where it fits in my tool box...

Sugru can be purchased at in a variety of packages from $10 and up.


No comments:

Post a Comment