Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Day with the AT MacGuyver

Therese Willkomm with her switch activated
 Red Light/Green Light device
Last week I had the great pleasure of spending a day with Therese Willkomm, know as the AT MacGuyver, in Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes II.
her lab at the University of New Hampshire (UNH).  Also present were Therese's delightful daughter (and lab intern for the day), Megan, and a student at UNH, Stacy.  Therese builds all sorts of assistive technology interventions with common materials and has recently published her second book on the topic,

Our morning was filled first with experimenting with Google Plus and Therese's awesome beta version of Google Glass.  Then we had an exciting tour of all of Therese's favorite materials: Loc-line, Uglu, industrial Velcrocoroplast (corrugated plastic), plastic cassette cases and more.  I learned how to make a Traveling Eileen iPad/book stand (and so can you, watch the video).

After a wonderful lunch in the UNH cafeteria and shop talk we returned to the lab.  We spend some time sort of off-topic talking about Waze, one of my favorite GPS apps and then got down to business.  In record time Therese, Stacy and I built an iPhone stand for my iPhone and I learned how to make tactile graphics for students with low vision on touch screen tablets!

Just a couple of days after I had the chance to spend time with Therese I used one of the AT adaptables she introduced to me, Wall Corner Guards (those clear plastic strips you attach to the corners of your wall to protect your wallpaper or paint job from damage), to block the buttons on an adaptive trackball I was using with a student!  So cool.

Therese shares many of her creations and ideas online.  Her YouTube channel is full of great how-to videos.  You can also check out the how-to documents on the UNH website.

You can purchase the new book, Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes II: Ordinary Items, extraordinary Solutions from the Institute on Disabilities website.  Also, don't miss the first book, Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes.

If you are interested in seeing Therese speak you can usually catch her at ATIA, Closing the Gap and other large assistive technology conferences or you can take a workshop or class at UNH.  You can also talk a live webinar with Therese in November 2013.  Better yet you can invite her to present to your school or agency.

What would you do with this?
Therese also issued me a little challenge I am passing on to my readers.  What ideas for you have for using this 1/2 plastic buckle component in the service of meeting assistive technology needs for your students (or anyone else)?


  1. I had the pleasure of attending one of her workshops a year or so ago. She's incredibly creative!! Her creativity knows no boundaries! It's amazing what you can do with a few simple materials, when money is always an issuer in schools and families! Her name of AT MacGuyver truly does fit her well!!!

  2. I just checked and you can get the Velcro Titanium strips (10 ft.)for $5.00 cheaper on And if you have Prime, you don't have to pay for shipping and handling.

    1. Yep! I also check this Impression EMEDIA I guess they're good too..all of there products come with a


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