(AYL received both products mentioned below from MERU in exchange for a review, but this isn’t a sponsored post so all opinions are my own!)
If you are a one of our oldie but goldie followers, you may remember that at the end of March we exhibited at Europe's largest disability exhibition called Naidex. This annual event takes place at the NEC in Birmingham and this year Naidex celebrated their 45th show! The event showcases the latest innovative products, live demos, seminars, networking opportunities and more! If you would like to read more about our trip, you can CLICK HERE to read my trip report.
We started preparing for this event in October 2018 and attended multiple exhibitions for inspiration! One of the key things we learnt was that we needed to work hard to ensure people were drawn to our stand. So to thank everyone for their support, we gave away 250 AYL Goody Bags to anyone who completed one of our short review forms at the event! As well as the Goody Bags, guests would also get entered into our exclusive giveaway! We worked with 4 fantastic companies to ensure our supporters could be in with the chance of winning some fantastic prizes, one of which was a Flexi 3 with iPad case from MERU.
Worth £112 the Flexzi 3 is an extra-strong, triple-stranded Flexzi, complete with detachable iPad case. The attachment is very flexible and easy to position, whilst remaining stable and secure with great protection for your devices. The Flexzi 3 allows a longer reach for clamping to wheelchairs, bed frames etc and the case has its own carry handle that is made from thick EVA foam.
In addition to this MERU were kind enough to gift me a Flexzi 1, which is an adjustable support system for items like buddy buttons, mobile phones, remote controls and sat-navs. It is made from a single strand of flexible plastic segments that allows you to perfectly position your devices. It is available in 3 colours, along with a lightweight and robust eco-clamp or a heavy duty clamp base. The eco-clamp is a flat attachment that is typically designed for tables and beds; where as the heavy duty clamp has a rounded attachment that is designed to clip onto wheelchairs and pushchairs. The price of your Flexzi does depend on your choice of clamp; however I opted for the eco-clamp so I could use it to attach my phone to my bedside table. Something I have found particularly useful in hospital, when I am unable to lift my arms due to having numerous access lines!
To my surprise I was also able to attach the Flexzi 1 by wrapping some vet bandage around the leg of my wheelchair; although I think anything with a gripped texture would hold the attachment in place! I have loved being able to attach my phone to my wheelchair, which is ideal for anyone like me who has difficulty holding your phone at times and/or has a tendency to drop things! As for the actual clamp, I have some difficulty tightening it up to secure it in place; but I don’t mind asking my Carer to do this when attaching the Flexzi to something. However, I have heard that the heavy duty is a little easier to turn as it has a lever that you twist, as opposed to to a circle that you turn to tighten.
As for attaching your device to the Flexzi, it couldn’t be more simple! All you do is attach a small strip of Velcro to your device, which comes included in the price. I also bought some more Velcro off Amazon, so I could attach an additional strip to the back of my phone case and to the bottom of my camera. I had so many people stop me, particularly at Naidex to ask whether my phone was secure and I must admit that I was a bit hesitant about my camera falling off at first, but I can’t emphasise how strong the Velcro is! So much so that it actually requires quite a strong grip to remove your device!
It is also super easy to position and requires few fine motor skills to move the actual arm holding your device, making it suitable for people of all abilities; or for carers adjusting the attachment for someone else. It isn’t fiddly, which is one of the things I love most about it! I typically have the arm of the Flexzi standing upright with the top part titled, so I can see my phone screen; but if I need to tuck it out of the way, I can simply push the arm downwards to make it lie flat along the side of my wheelchair or bed!
Overall, I cannot recommend the Flexzi enough to someone looking for an attachment that can hold their phone, camera or buddy buttons. I have had SO many people stop me to ask where they could buy the attachment, so I will leave a link to MERU’s online shop below for anyone who wants to get one for themselves. It comes in 3 different lengths and 3 different colours, to ensure your attachment meets the needs and likes of each buyer.
As a charity , MERU are able to produce small batches of products that wouldn’t normally be commercially viable, allowing them to help people living with specific or complex needs. They design one off items for individuals where there is no suitable product on the market. However, the process of designing and manufacturing from scratch is very in-depth, meaning they try to adapt existing equipment where possible.
They now also offer a switch toy adaptation service where families can send in up to 5 interactive toys at a time to be adapted for use with switches, which you can learn more about by clicking the link below!