Assistive technology (AT) is defined as, “Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a person with a disability.” In this blog I am going to explore one way to modify or customize AT!

InstaMorph is a lightweight non-toxic thermoplastic that is easily moldable when heated at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. At room temperature, InstaMorph is solid, strong, and durable. It can be reheated again and again to be better shaped and customized; or reheated and shaped for a completely different use. InstaMorph is so versatile its not only been welcomed with open arms in the AT community, but its being used by artists, gamers, fashion designers, scientists, and more! (Check-out the many creative ways people are using InstaMorph HERE.)

I used InstaMorph to make a small key easier to grab and use. The user I had in mind was a person with arthritis. I used a thick pair of boiled-wool mittens to emulate the grabbing ability a person with arthritis might experience.

This small key is about 2″ long and 3/4″ wide at its thickest point. I use this key everyday to open my garage door. I cannot pick-up or use this key while wearing my boiled-wool mittens – but that’s all going to change!

Very small key.

Here is the InstaMorph! It comes in small pellets.

InstaMorph pellets.

My Keurig provides water just hot enough to soften the InstaMorph pellets into a sculpt-able state.

Keurig coffee maker running hot water into a coffee cup with InstaMorph pellets in it.

InstaMorph becomes clear when its ready to be sculpted. 

Small ball of melted InstaMorph.

The results after my first round of heating and sculpting the InstaMorph around the key.

InstaMorph molded around the very small key so it is easier to pick up.

My design passed the mitten test! I could easily pick up the key for use!

Hand in mitten picking up the very small key with InstaMorph.

I reheated and sculpted the key about three times before settling with its final shape. While the plastic was warm, I used a sharp point to create a hole large enough to attach the key onto the key chain. The whole process from start to finish took me about 15 minutes.

Finished InstaMorph key.

This process was a lot of fun, and the results were surprisingly successful. I would recommend InstaMorph to anyone who wants to customize something so it can be used more easily and independently!