The Tetra database contains hundreds of records of assistive devices built by Tetra volunteers over the years.
Search by one, two, or all three of the fields provided: Category, Sub Category, and Keyword. The more fields used, the narrower the results of the search. Searches can also be conducted using the Keyword field only. Using multiple keywords will focus the search very narrowly, as only the database records containing all of the keywords will be returned.
Choosing a Category from the drop-down list (and clicking the ‘Search’ button) will yield a long list of assistive device projects that can then be browsed one at a time.
Once a Category is selected, the option exists to add a Sub Category. This will narrow the search results and yield a shorter list (after clicking the ‘Search’ button) that can then be browsed one at a time.
To conduct a very focused search, type one or more keywords to the ‘Keyword’ field. Just leave a space between each word – no commas or other punctuation are required.
There are eight categories in the Tetra Assistive Device Database:
Some assistive devices fit more than one category, so they will come up when browsing through more than one category.
Each category has between four and six sub-categories that help to refine searches for those who are interested in an assistive device for a specific use or application.
Keywords help to zero in on particular devices. If you know what you’re looking for, they can be very useful to identify if something similar has been built in the past. The more keywords used, the fewer the search results that are generated. Some of the kinds of keywords that are helpful when defining assistive devices are:
What the device does: This is an action, using words like hold, mount, lift, swivel, etc.
What it facilitates a person to do: These keywords describe actions that are the result of the device and include words such as eat, read, drive, work, transfer, etc. They can also describe specific activities such as cooking, cycling, painting, fishing, etc.
What the device modifies: Keywords that specify something that has been modified are very specific and useful. They can include just about anything: from a computer mouse to a violin, from a desk to a laundry hamper.
Where or how it is used: This describes the place or situation in which a device is most often used. It can be a room in the house, for school, for the car, for a wheelchair.
Who uses it: Specifying an age group, by using a keyword like ‘child’ or ‘senior’ can be helpful. Some devices have been designed to address a condition that is specific to a person’s disability, so words such as quadriplegic, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, etc. can pinpoint devices.
Use keywords only, do not type in complete sentences.
Spelling counts. If a keyword yields no search results, check your spelling. It will be displayed at the top of the search results page.
Do not use articles such as ‘the’, ‘a’, or ‘an’.
Browsing through a list of devices can be very helpful. Sometimes reading about a device that was built for a seemingly unrelated activity can lead to ideas for the one you may be looking for.
Try to visualize what you want to do. It will help to recognize how solutions that overcame obstacles for others may suit, or be tailored, to your needs.