Ray Roydhouse and his granddaughter Ruby Mainwaring with the Getagrip tool for making opening jars easy. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

STEVE RENDLE
steve.rendle@age.co.nz

A simple but ingenious route to easier jam on toast had a couple of Masterton grandparents glued to the TV last night.

Ray Roydhouse can claim to be at least a little of the inspiration behind an invention by his 12-year-old granddaughter, Ruby Mainwaring, designed to make opening jars easier.

Ruby, a pupil at Palmerston North Intermediate, was well aware her grandfather struggled with twist-top lids – he suffers from muscle neuropathy – and when it came time for the annual schools’ science and technology fair wanted to do something to help her “Poppa”.

Last night TVNZ’s Seven Sharp programme [7pm on One] featured Ruby’s Getagrip device, which is now on sale and getting rave reviews from the likes of the Arthritis and Neurological foundations.

A lengthy phone conversation with her grandfather provided a framework for the invention, which uses a tough but flexible rubber material to enable users to grip both the top and bottom of jars.

“He gave me some criteria – it had to be dual grip, easy to store, comfortable to use, and a good price,” Ruby said.

“And it had to work!”

Roydhouse takes up the story.

“One of her ideas was a glove, but I said she would need to make two because you need to be able to grip the top and the bottom of a jar. But I thought two gloves would be more expensive, and might be more difficult to store.

“Above all, I said she should keep it simple.”

The resulting Getagrip device won the technology prize at the school event, with judges suggesting she enter the Innovate Manawatu competition for new business ideas. There, from a field of more than 90, she was one of five entrants selected to make a presentation and pitch to 250 people.

The Getagrip tool is now being laser cut in Levin and packaged with a design produced by Ruby’s mother Amanda, and older sister, Hannah.

Getagrip comes in two sizes, at prices of $15 and $20.

More info is available at: www.getagrip.nz