ClipDifferent: A Better Way to Clip Your Fingernails

By Melanie McMullen, ClipDifferent

As any person with a disability can tell you, there are dozens of mundane tasks throughout the day that are often taken for granted by the able-bodied community. One of those seemingly simple tasks is the act of clipping fingernails. For the majority of us, it's obvious our nails grow and they need to be trimmed regularly. But what if you can't trim your own nails? In almost all cases, you're reliant upon a loved one, caregiver, or professional salon to help out.

The standard fingernail clipper hasn't changed much since it's invention a century ago. For something so simple, it has been a valuable tool that does what it was designed to do. The unfortunate kicker: it's almost impossible to use if you have dexterity, vision or upper limb challenges. But what if there's a better way?

Clipdifferent: easy fingernail clipping

Inventor Creates Automatic Manicure for People with Disabilities

Tom McMullen, Jr. grew up with a sister with polio and then, later in life, with a wife who was in a wheelchair. Throughout, Tom funneled his energy into creating workarounds designed to make their lives easier. This led Tom to start thinking about other people's challenges and how they were under served with solutions. He noticed that if you had vision loss, MS, arthritis, limb difference, or any other number of disabilities, clipping your fingernails could be next to impossible. This started Tom's journey to create an automatic fingernail trimmer that would allow people of all abilities to do it for themselves.

Fast forward years of designing, engineering and experimenting with prototypes, and Tom finally landed on a winning solution: The ClipDifferent Pro.

You simply press a button on the top to turn it on, insert as much of your fingernail as you like, and it trims your nail effortlessly, safely and gently. The safe fingernail slot prevents skin from coming into contact with the trimming mechanism (even those with full vision loss can use it safely). It also catches the nail clippings in a drawer, eliminating any mess (goodbye random nail trimmings flying everywhere!), and contains a high-capacity rechargeable battery that can last months between charges.

The ClipDifferent Fingernail Cutter

Tom understands that the ClipDifferent Pro is not a revolutionary turning point that will save lives or grant unlimited independence. He does, however, understand the power of one small thing. And when taken together, numerous small things can add up to a whole lot.

And the product of this vision was just recognized as a top three finalist for the 2019 Edison Awards. The Edison Awards is an annual, international competition designed to honor excellence in new product and service development, marketing, human-centered design and innovation. Winners represent "game changing" products, services, excellence and leadership in innovation around four criteria: concept, value, delivery and impact. Regardless of the ClipDifferent taking home the gold, silver, or bronze award (announced end of February 2019), Tom is already seeing firsthand how the ClipDifferent is improving this small, but important aspect of the lives of those using it.

For more information, visit or come to Abilities Expo Los Angeles and try it for yourself.

The ClipDifferent Fingernail Cutter

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