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Teen girl creates assistive device to help people with disabilities use zippers

Shared by Ana Ribeiro on 2020-09-22 09:28

About the solution

When she was 6-years-old. Leah Zelaya was diagnosed with a rare type of neuromuscular disease called scapuloperoneal spinal muscular atrophy (SPSMA). Due to the disease, Leah slowly began to lose muscle tissue and has difficulty with activities that require the use of fine motor skills. So, simple thing like getting dressed are a daily challenge for her.

"Things like buttoning and zipping can really hurt my fingers and take a really long time, and I also have trouble getting pants to fit over my leg braces. I’m someone that wants to be independent, but just getting dressed in the morning has been a barrier to that. I especially dreaded using zippers because of the weakness in my hands", Leah explained in an interview.

To help her overcome this challenge, Leah decided to take her love for fashion design and, with the help of the Open Style Lab nonprofit, she created an assistive device for zippers. The prototype she created is called “Eazy Zip” and it consist of a “donut-like” holder that is attached to a hook. Users can easily hold the device using the big hole inside the “donut” and then “put the hook through the zipper and (…) zip it up and down", Leah explains. With the Easy Zip, Leah can close a zipper in mere seconds – something that would sometimes take her almost 20 minutes without it.

The Easy Zip can also be used to open and close handbags, tie shoes or button a shirt. With her dream of becoming a fashion designer, Leah wanted Easy Zip to be fashionable so it she made it customizable. "It comes with... glitter glue and stickers, so anyone can make it reflect their personal style. We’re addressing challenges and creating hacks without sacrificing style."

As a starting point, the Eazy Zip will be sold as part of the Open Style Lab’s hackability toolkit.

Adapted from: https://www.elle.com/fashion/trend-reports/a33587986/leah-zelaya-accessi...

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

At 13-years-old, in 2020, Leah Zelaya created Easy Zip, an assistive device to help people with mobility issues use zippers. Leah was diagnosed with a rare type of neuromuscular disease called scapuloperoneal spinal muscular atrophy (SPSMA), at 6-years-old, and getting dresses is a daily challenge for her.

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