Tom McMullen, Jr., was looking for a way to make his wife’s life just a little easier after she was diagnosed with a progressive health issue.
What McMullen came up with was a new way for people to clip their fingernails.
McMullen, who lives in Orono, developed and produced an automatic nail clipper called the ClipDifferent Pro.
“When I was 40, I was clipping my fingernails and wondered, ‘How does someone with a hand problem clip their fingernails,?’” McMullen said. “Thirty-five years later, ClipDifferent was born with our first product the Pro. The fingernail clipper hadn’t changed in close to 100 years -turned out that it was incredibly challenging to develop a new way for people to clip their fingernails. Compound that with a focus on those with hand issues, and the project got a hold of me and just took me to its conclusion.”
He and his family opened the company ClipDifferent in 2017 and based it in Orono. In 2018, the company released the Pro to the public and since then has added other automated nail clippers – the junior and Lil Nipper, a clipper designed for infants and toddlers.
“The Pro looks somewhat like and about the same diameter as a smoke detector,” McMullen said. “It’s battery operated, sits on your counter or flat smooth surface, and on the face has a small elongated slot that just fits your fingernail. You press the on/off button, insert your fingernail, swivel your finger slightly to get from side to side and bingo, you’re done. Your surprised look says something about how easy it is and how smooth your fingernail is. The Pro was designed for people who have an upper limb loss/difference, those who have had a stroke, have Parkinson’s, MS, are blind, have somewhat significant arthritis, or those who have lost dexterity or strength in their hands.”
Not much has changed in the product since McMullen first came up with the idea.
“In the last 35 years, the product has stayed exactly the same, which is a true testament to how helpful it’s been to those in need,” he said. “There was a very talented group involved in its design and manufacturability. For its purpose, the Pro works almost perfectly. Last quarter, we introduced three new automatic fingernail clippers: ‘Lil Nippers.’ One for infants and toddlers, one for kids and one for adults. These are about one third the size of the Pro and are handheld. They’re designed to clip infants and toddlers nails so that parents can’t clip their skin. Children from 5-11 who have autism, Downs syndrome, sensory aversion, or those who simply fear of having their nails clipped and adults who are looking for a simpler way to cut their nails. We see the older generation becoming significant users. All of our products are safe and do not clip the person’s skin. That’s a big deal.”
All of ClipDifferents products can be purchased at clipdifferent.com or on Amazon.
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