Reach extender

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A 36-inch reach extender with a secondary trigger and a pole that can be rotated 90 degrees.

A reach extender, grabber arm, or helping hand is a handheld mechanical tool used to increase the range of a person's reach when grabbing objects. It has applications in waste management, assistive technology, gardening and outdoor work, and in some cases as a children's toy. It is chiefly used to pick items up off the ground, and it is commonly sold in hardware stores.

A reach extender takes the form of a long metal or plastic pole, usually not exceeding 3 feet (0.91 m) in length, with a handle at one end and a pair of jaws at the other end. The handle is equipped with a trigger that, when pulled, closes the jaws via a lever-and-spring system within the pole. The jaws are open by default and become open when the trigger is released. Some reach extenders may possess a secondary trigger which locks the jaws in position around whatever object they are holding, so the user does not need to maintain a tight grip on the handle. Others have jaws equipped with suction cups for holding round objects more easily, and still others have small magnets for collecting lightweight metallic items. Variations on the basic form of a reach extender depend on what task needs to be accomplished, and significant variation is found in the length of the pole and the maximum weight the reach extender can bear.[1]

Reach extenders are used by litter collection services to aid in picking up litter off the ground without having to bend over. People may construct specially adapted forms for this purpose.[2] Reach extenders are also used to provide accessibility to the disabled and elderly.[3]

A 2009 neuroplasticity study by Cardinali et al. used reach extenders to demonstrate that the human brain maps tools as parts of the body.[4][5]


  1. ^ Miller, Jim T. "How to Find the Best Reacher Grabber Tool". The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post.
  2. ^ Goldsberry, Clare. "Inventor solves big litter problem; Can't grab it? Get a Grabbinator". Plastics Today. UBM Americas. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  3. ^ Dahl, Timothy. "How to Make a Grabber Arm for Picking up Anything". Popular Mechanics. Hearst Digital Media. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Tools are 'temporary body parts'". BBC World News. BBC. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  5. ^ Zehr, Paul E. (26 September 2012). "Assembling an Avenger-Inside the Brain of Iron Man". Scientific American. Scientific American. Retrieved 27 September 2016.