Innovative product is opening the door for millions to use keys with ease
Winner of the Design Council Spark Award and a £65,000 investment from charity Versus Arthritis, the Keywing from Dext is helping millions with reduced dexterity to open doors and regain independence.
Keywing is a simple, innovative and thoughtfully designed product that clips onto keys. Once in place, it creates a larger surface area and longer lever, making keys easier to hold, grasp and turn, and locks much easier to open.
The Keywing has been designed by Australian born, London-based designer Geoff Rolandsen.
Geoff witnessed his father living with deteriorating dexterity and the challenges he encountered in his everyday life. Inspired when his father struggled to unlock his shed and determined to make a difference to his life, Geoff designed a desirable product that could help restore his father’s independence.
It would also aid the 10 million people in the UK who live with arthritis and reduced dexterity.
“It was incredibly frustrating to know that a task as simple as opening the front door, is such a challenge to so many people,” said Geoff.
The Keywing design has been tested and refined over the past 18 months by Versus Arthritis supporters across the UK. It launched in March 2019 on the Keywing website and on Amazon; a full national retail launch is currently under discussion.
User testing responses have been “incredible”, with 90 percent of people saying it significantly helped them to use their keys with ease and would make a welcomed difference to their day-to-day lives.
Sarah Odoi, IP Development Manager at Versus Arthritis, commented: “There over 10 million people in the UK living with the pain and fatigue of arthritis. That’s one in six people.
“Many struggle with everyday activities that we take for granted, like getting dressed in the morning or turning the key in a lock. That’s why products, like the Keywing, are essential in helping people to stay in control of their own lives, without the fear that they can’t unlock the door to their home.
“As a charity we support innovative designers, like Geoff, to make everyday products that not only help people with arthritis to maintain their independence but that are appealing to eye – many people are put off from using clunky ‘aids’. It’s been fantastic to work with Geoff and the Design Council, and help the idea come to life.”
“I’ve been blown away by the feedback from users saying how this product has made such a difference to their lives,” added Geoff. “Enabling them to leave their house with confidence that they won’t struggle to unlock their front door upon return is the biggest reward for me.”
Reduced hand dexterity has a vast range of causes and is impacting a growing portion of society, with research from Versus Arthritis showing that 44 percent of sufferers have difficulty moving around independently. Pain and difficulty undertaking daily tasks, such as locking and unlocking doors, is a key contributing factor to this alarming statistic.
Dr Anna Lowe, a chartered physiotherapist, believes Keywing could play a key role in making these challenges easier to manage for people with reduced dexterity.
She said: “As a physiotherapist I’ve worked with many people with reduced dexterity associated with conditions including arthritis and long-term neurological conditions where keys and locks present a particular challenge because of the manual dexterity and strength required.
“The Keywing is a neat little device and could help to give individuals and their families and carers confidence and peace of mind and could make the difference between someone needing help to get in or out of their own home and being able to do it independently.”
According to Dext, it is not only arthritis sufferers who will benefit from the Keywing. Feedback shows that it can also make a positive impact for the 17 million people who live with a musculoskeletal condition in the UK (around 28.9 percent of the population) and those with deteriorating hand strength caused by ageing.
The Keywing is eligible for VAT relief to qualifying clients and charities.
Dext was established to create a range of innovative products that ease everyday activities. The company focuses on universal design to create beautiful solutions that ensure users enjoy life.
Versus Arthritis came to life in September 2018 as a result of the merger of two of the UK’s largest arthritis charities – Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis Care.