DiscoverGear, Gadgets and Gizmos
Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos
Claim Ownership

Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos

Author: Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos

Subscribed: 3Played: 28


Phil Friend invites disabled people in to talk about the stuff they use to overcome the barriers they face in living an independent life. Some very innovative and left-field thinking is the name of the game
20 Episodes
Dr Rachael Grimaldi is an anaesthetist based at The Royal Sussex County Hospital.  She decided to try and solve a major problem when she heard the story of a critically ill patient who talked about his terror when he couldn’t understand what healthcare staff were saying to him through their personal protective equipment (face masks, visors and hoods).Rachael was on maternity leave and stranded in the US because of COVID restrictions so she decided to put her time and energy into coming up with a solution that would benefit her frontline NHS colleagues and their patients.  Rachael set to work on a series of flashcards with key messages. Within 72 hours, she had developed a free online resource in 10 languages and a read-aloud option for partially sighted or blind patients. In this podcast, Rachael discusses Card Medic's development and her aspirations to remove communication barriers across all healthcare provision.
The coronavirus has had a massive impact on everyone, and the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC)  had to change and adapt to get through the crisis.In this podcast, Gordon McCullough, the CEO of RIDC, discusses the important role the organisation has played in bringing disabled people's voices into the COVID conversation.  With over 2000 disabled members, the RIDC Consumer Panel has provided vital insights that have helped inform and shape government policy during the pandemic. Gordon explains why the RIDC with its Consumer Panel is uniquely placed to assist manufacturers and service providers in ensuring that their products and services take account of the needs of disabled people.The vaccination programme now means that life should begin to get back to some kind of "normal".  Gordon is optimistic about life after the coronavirus restrictions are lifted.  He believes that transport, technology, and ageing well present challenges and opportunities for disabled people.  RIDC  will primarily focus its resources on these areas in order to provide an understanding of what needs to change.  
Hazel Dudley is retired having worked for many years in the Civil Service as a personal secretary. She went blind in her childhood and now puts her considerable skills as a blind person to good use as a panel member for RIDC testing apps and websites.  She says she'll try her hand at most things so long as "it's legal."Hazel has developed (pun intended) a keen interest in photography. Using her iPhone she has amassed over 4000 photographs. In this podcast, she explains how she does it.Hazel clearly likes to keep busy she's demonstrated specialised equipment to blind users, she's been a broadcaster, taught reading in Jordon, and traveled the world on cruise ships including the Queens; Elizabeth Mary, and Victoria. Her other interests include reading, buying jewelry, music, and learning German.In her "free time" she's a season ticket holder at her beloved Liverpool FC and says she can't wait for the coronavirus restrictions to end.  She and her guide dog have really missed their regular trips to Anfield.Links: Chef Counter MicrowaveTassimo Coffee MakerBreville One CupOptaconJudy Dixon - Get the Picture: Viewing the World with the iPhone Camera.
After leaving school Gavin Neate joined the armed forces and served in the military police as a dog handler. He was based up at RAF Lucas, and just north of Lucas was a Guide Dogs for the Blind training centre and he used to go along and do voluntary work.On finishing his military career and not unnaturally he applied for and then became a guide dog instructor. He saw first hand the difficulties that sight-impaired people faced in their daily lives and determined to do something about it.He became involved in a project to explore how GPS might be used to help visually impaired people navigate the world around them. With the arrival of the smartphone, Gavin saw an opportunity to link smartphone apps and hardware and Neatebox was born.In this podcast, Gavin talks about the applications he developed that are making a real difference to the lives of many disabled people throughout the UK.Links: -Neatebox Button Welcome Website
After a successful career in IT working in the finance industry, Patrick Burke was forced to take medical retirement as a result of Multiple Sclerosis. After initially struggling to adjust to his new "normal" he now spends much of his time exploring the impact of his condition and how it affects others. He continues his search for things that will either make life easier or that will specifically address the barriers MS puts his way.Patrick has been a panel member for Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC) for over five years. He clearly enjoys the world of "gadgetry" and his website aid4disabled often features devices that he has used.In this podcast, he shares his thoughts about two gadgets which live in his kitchen and two devices that help him stay mobile.Links:OXO Measuring jugKnorkTopra Troja RollatorTravel scoot.
Resolute, determined, funny, innovative and creative Mary Duffy is all of these things. As a Thalidomide survivor, she has invented all sorts of ingenious ways of managing her daily life and her artistic career without arms. Mary lives by the sea in Wicklow in Ireland and is an accomplished and honoured artist. Aside from her painting, she's tried pottery and photography. She loves gardening and is particularly adept at weeding onions using a spoon gripped between her toes.Listen to Mary talking about portable grab rails, book page-turners, and gardening footwear. Links:Suction Grab Rails Trowel Frame
Steph's career started in the fashion industry where she designed for high street labels, such as Ted Baker and M&S. She had always wanted to be a fashion designer and says she was working hard, playing hard and keen to make her mark. As her career began to take off disability came into her life when she unexpectedly experienced sight loss.Her company, Making Lemonade was initially born from her lived experience of acquiring her impairment. This quickly led to an interest in the lived experiences of a wide range of other disabled people and interest in disability equality generally. She became an advocate of disability issues and a champion of diversity and inclusion which remains the foundation of Making Lemonade. In this podcast, Steph tells us about the things she uses on a regular basis which help her get passed or around the barriers her sight loss presents.Here are links to the Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos she mentioned.iPhoneOcadoPanasonic TV voice guidance Alexa 
Sue Kent is a massage therapist who uses her feet to massage. She pioneered this technique due to an upper limb disability caused by the drug thalidomide. She has 8-inch-long arms and seven fingers and no thumbs. She has a little strength or grip ability in her hands. Sue uses both her feet and her arms to do daily tasks, and she sometimes uses her teeth although she isn't sure this is always a good idea.Sue’s favourite pastimes include sea swimming, gardening and painting, all of which she does using a combination of her feet and hands. Sue runs a Facebook page called Gadgets to make life easier, disabling disability. Here people can share gadgets they found that are useful or ask if anybody has a gadget for a problem that they have. mentioned the following products/items in the podcastA rocker chopper, here's an example tweezers toe socks.
Rudi has been a wheelchair user since 1971 following an accident which paralysed his legs, arms and hands, although he can still use his hands to some extent despite having no finger movement. He says he was fortunate to have been able to receive a university education, albeit in an ancient, entirely un-adapted environment.  He has worked in various industries including the charitable sector, television, the arts and sport both in the UK and the United States.  He was very active in disability politics in the 80s and 90s which was a very fruitful and happy period for him.  He is now semi-retired and lives in an adapted housing association flat in West London and uses a number of support workers to assist him with daily living tasks. Rudi’s gadget list ·      Adapted spoon ( ·      Speech Recognition on iPad and iPhone ·      Wheelchair accessible vehicle from Motability (
Ross Hovey works for Lloyds Banking Group as their Accessibility Manager. His role is to create an inclusive environment for disabled colleagues and he leads on the workplace adjustment programme. Outside of work, he is a board director for Changing Places (campaigning for better toilet facilities for the most severely disabled people), a co-chair of … Continue reading "Ross Hovey – Red Through and Through" (
Shannon Murray is an actress, writer, disability consultant and a solicitor, on top of this she is also an accomplished keynote speaker. Shannon was left paralysed from the waist down after a diving accident when she was 14 years old and first received international media attention a few years after her injury when she won the first ever search for a disabled model.She has since campaigned for the better representation of disability in the media for 20 years and has gone some way to improving that, appearing in a number of successful dramas for the BBC and Channel 4 as well as being the first disabled model to feature in a high profile advertising campaign for the British store Debenhams.Links: -Hand controls push pull fitted to an automatic Walking stick with marble/bone handle Raised toilet seat of various heights.  
Andy Healey is an aerospace writer and published author. He blogs on mobility and disabled travel at (http:// . Andy flew helicopters in the Royal Navy and subsequently for an air-taxi operator near London, before breaking his back in a 1985 flying accident. Since then he has written for most UK national newspapers and presented for the BBC and Channel 4. He wrote ‘Leading from the Front; Bristow Helicopters, the first 50 years’ (Tempus) and ‘The Rough Guide to Accessible London’ (Rough Guides); he is currently editing a book for a major aerospace manufacturer. In our conversation, Andy shares his thoughts about his travels and the equipment he uses to make getting around that much easier. If like him you're a bit of a globetrotter take a listenLuggage Bag Freewheel for manual wheelchair Tiga FX. Mustang.’s Website and Blog
Jamie Knight is an autistic web developer, writer, speaker and mountain biker. Lion is a plushie who goes everywhere with him.The duo has spent almost 10 years at the BBC working on everything from iPlayer Radio to children’s gaming. Millions of people use Jamie’s code each day. Lion’s BBC career has mostly been in antelope management. Jamie has been speaking about his autistic life for over 10 years. He’s also contributed to books, magazines and co-presented a podcast series for the BBC.In this edition of our podcast, Jamie explains the importance of the tech he uses and the vital role it plays in helping him to manage communication, mood and life generally.Jamie and Lion’s Gadgets list:Proloquo2Go Watch Hue Smart lights Smoke alarm
Dr Alice Maynard CBE is an experienced Non-Executive Director having worked since the early ‘90s as a Trustee of several Charities and a member of two Housing Association Committees.Alice was Chair of Scope for 6 years, a £100m turnover charity providing services to disabled people with high support needs and campaigning for disabled people’s equality.Alice is a Chartered Director (Institute of Directors) and has worked in the private, public and third sectors and she has established two successful businesses of her own (Equal Ability and Future Inclusion ( ).Alice has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a powered wheelchair to get around. She lives in Milton Keynes.Here are the links to the products and services Alice mentioned:-Hot tap Insinkerator  Adam Thomas redesigned her kitchen. Toothbrush Oral B Echo  (Alexa)  as a way of using SKYPE in an emergency controls for curtains pulling and gas fire   If you would like to appear on our podcast Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos please contact Chris Lofthouse. His email is or call 0207 427 2467
In this Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos episode from the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC), I’m in conversation with Vivek Gohil who has managed to find ways to enjoying gaming by bending technology to his will.Vivek is 29 and from Leicester, he lives with the muscle-wasting condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, he uses a ventilator to help him breathe and is a powered wheelchair user. He is a Blogger, Speaker, Accessibility & Assistive Tech Consultant and Freelance Writer for the gaming website Eurogamer. Vivek primarily writes about disability representation in all forms of media, assistive technology, gaming, mental health and his lived experience. He’s worked with Microsoft testing their Xbox adaptive controller, Logitech reviewing gaming mice and game developers to improve accessibility and disability inclusion. Comics, Sci-Fi, Robotics, Superheroes, Space and Psychology interest him so if you’re not busy then he can talk your ear off about those topics. You can learn more by visiting Vivek’s blog posts at our conversation Vivek mentioned the following products:Gaming Mouse Logitech 3250 Dictation Software Playstation 4 Controller adapted by Special Effect a charity. adaptive controlTitan 1 controller it! ( is a product review website by and for disabled people. It’s an online space for you to share views of products (specialist and mainstream), hacks, and tips to make life easier. If you’re a disabled or older person living in the UK, use your knowledge and experience to do consumer research – Join the RiDC research panel (
Born in 1960, Rosie’s impairment is four-limbed Phocomelia caused by the drug Thalidomide.After graduating with a BSc., (Hons) Degree in Psychology through Cardiff University in 1985, Rosie joined the Civil Service and remained with the Department of Trade and Industry at Companies House Cardiff until 1993 at Executive Officer level.In 1995 Rosie formed the RMS Disability Issues Consultancy, out of a genuine desire to deliver first-class training in the field of Disability Equality and Disability Issues.Rosie received an OBE in the Queen’s New Years Honours List in 2015, “For Services to the Equality and the Rights of Disabled People.”Rosie was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Cardiff University in 2017.Married, with one son, Rosie has a particular interest in radio, television and the arts.  Rosie has been the subject of several documentaries. She has worked with the BBC, Sky and ITV, and can be heard regularly on BBC Radio Wales.  She is a freelance TV and Radio Presenter.Links:Single use flexible strawsFolding shelf for eating in restaurants Fork holder with a magnet, use cheap cutlery Mount n mover
Rick Williams runs his own business based in Brighton. The company have been around for about 20 years and supply consultancy and training services to organisations that want to improve their employment and services provided for disabled people.Rick went blind in his mid-40s as a result of retinitis pigmentosa and this explains his lifelong commitment and passion for ensuring that disabled people, particularly those with sight impairments, lead as independent and inclusive a life as possible.In this edition of Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos Rick discusses a variety of things which enable him to have a very full and active life.Freeney Williams http://www.freeneywilliams.comiPhone and Ipad has a Text to Speech FunctionFree Navigation support Screen Reader Vis Microwave Measuring Jug Tape
I’ve known Simon Minty for many years in fact for a number of those years we were business partners, so I feel I know him pretty well. In this conversation, Simon talks about the things he finds invaluable in helping to maintain his level of independence and I must admit there were one or two surprises. Simon has delivered training and consultancy in the field of equalities since 1997. He has personal experience of disability, being of short stature and of limited mobility.Based in London, Simon works throughout the UK and internationally. Simon’s passion for equality, his innate and learned knowledge of disability, his ability to listen and address the issue in hand combined with an infectious sense of humour has enabled him to successfully work with clients from a small NGO to a multi-national investment bank.  He’s produced numerous videos and co-produced and performed in the sell-out Edinburgh Fringe comedy show Abnormally Funny People in 2005, returning again in 2015. He is a host of BBC Ouch podcast and the Phil & Simon ShowA keen traveller, he won the Travel X Travel Writer of the Year 1999 – Best Television Feature for his Channel 4 travel programme in China.Go Go Elite Traveller Plus Step Stool Folding Step Stool ( App Maps Maps Step Free Access article
Hello everyone and welcome to this the inaugural edition of the Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos podcast. We’re delighted to welcome as our first guest Geoff Adams-Spink one of the trustees of Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC).Geoff was born with multiple impairments as a result of thalidomide. He has  shortened upper limbs, a missing right eye and extremely restricted vision in his left eye. He left the BBC in 2011 to set up his own disability equality consultancy and to Chair an international federation of organisations for those affected by congenital limb difference (EDRIC). As a trainer and public speaker, he has worked extensively in the UK, many EU countries, Ukraine, China and Thailand. He has an outward-looking world view and seeks to help international business, public and third sector organisations to learn from each other by spreading best practice in the field of disability equality. In my conversation with Geoff he talks about the things that he uses to overcome the difficulties that his impairments put in his way. Some are simple devices others more complex but all provide a solution.I’ve posted below links to the products and services that Geoff mentioned.Don’t forget to take a look at the RateIt website hosted by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers where you will find a whole host of products and gadgets which might be useful to you., if you are a disabled person and would like to join the RIDC Consumer Panel please email Chris Lofthouse at or call 020 7427 2467Links:Clamp for tablet Bestek  £22 approx Amazon Echo Smart Speaker Aquarius Portabidet Closemat Gerberit Disabled Facilities Grant from Local Authority
Hello everyone just a quick note to let you know that I’m planning to develop a new podcast in which I interview disabled people about the things they use to overcome the barriers they face because of their disability. I’ll keep you posted as to when this will become available. In the meantime you might want to take a listen to this as it tells you a little more than I have here.
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store