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Handizap was founded by Josh Smith, a mechanical engineer from Virginia Tech, in March of 2015. On August 23,2014, Josh dove into a wave at Virginia Beach, hitting his head on a sandbar. He sustained a burst fracture of his C-5 vertebrae which damaged his spinal cord. Instantly he became a C-6 quadriplegic. Josh rehabbed at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA for over four months. Here is a picture of Josh with his parents, medical staff, and therapists, graduating from Shepherd’s inpatient “Boot Camp” program.


Graduating from Shepherd’s inpatient program

While in rehab, Josh envisioned the idea of the Sixth Digit. Josh’s first prototype was made from a ring pop and an eraser. His invention created a lot of interest and support from his physiatrist, Dr. Anna Elmers, his occupational therapist, Rebecca Thomasson, as well as other medical staff and patients. Josh soon realized others who had limited hand function could benefit from the Sixth Digit. Thus he decided to patent and manufacture his invention. Here is a picture of his first prototype.


The original Sixth Digit

After returning home to Richmond, VA, Josh teamed up with his high school friend, Jared Rhodes. Jared attended BYU where he received a degree in genetics and biotechnology with a minor in business management. Jared is the COO of Handizap. Together they launched a Kickstarter to help raise funds for the production of the Sixth Digit. The Sixth Digit is currently the only adjustable ring stylus in the world! The possibilities for different tips and attachments for the Sixth Digit are endless. Here is a picture of Josh and Jared headed to meet with a manufacturer.


Josh founded Handizap to market the Sixth Digit and future inventions as well as other products to help improve the lives of those living with disabilities. If you have an idea of a product that can help others let us know. We would love to partner with you and possibly help make your idea a reality!


“Stop wishing and start doing.”

      –     Josh


How do you use the Sixth Digit Effectively?


  1. Sam January 9, 2016 at 6:20 PM #

    I am an able bodied man. I’m an avid snowboarder. I have interest in the touchscreen stud on the end of your stylus. I would like to order just that part to attach to my snowboard glove. The current solution is a capacitative goo that ablates easily. Also presents accuracy challenges. Maybe there’s a market in there for you. If so, a low pro stud that screws through or rivets on would be legit. In the means, i could certainly use your capacitative studs as is for knuckle mounting. Any Qs? 360.880.0005.


  2. Sarah Fries December 30, 2018 at 2:00 PM #


    I am a quadriplegic from California. I work with many different rehabilitation centers and paralyzed individuals. If you’re willing to send me a pair of your product I’d like to introduce them to those I work with, the centers I work with, along with Sacramento State State University physical therapy department, and the Sacramento Royals wheelchair basketball team (including the NWBA). I would also be willing to review your product on various social media platforms. If you are interested in who I am in contact with, here are a few:

    Stanford University
    UC Davis Medical Center (Rehabilitation)
    San Joaquin County Hospital (rehabilitation)
    Shriners Children’s Hospital – Sacramento
    Oakland Children’s
    Methodist outpatient
    Sacramento State University – physical and occupational therapy department

    I would like to take The Sixth Digit to these places and show them to patients and therapists alike. The purpose would be to help get the product exposure.

    If you are interested my mailing address is:

    Dr. S. Fries
    5509 Jilson Way
    Elk Grove, Ca


  3. Fries January 7, 2019 at 2:18 PM #

    Life changing. Really, that’s all I can say. From the finger stylus to the chair mount for your phone, life changing. No more dropped phone, no more worries about “will my fingers work today?” The best part, getting to share these products with others need them just as much, if not more, than I need them myself! Thank you, Josh and team, for your hard work, dedication, and for giving back to the community however you can!!!


  4. Kim OGrady January 20, 2019 at 7:36 PM #

    Hi I just purchased the sixth digit for a friend who is C 5. It’s working well however he finds it works best on his ring finger and then stabilized by his pinky. Only wish the shaft was available in a longer size to accommodate wearing on other digits. I took a photo but don’t know how to share with you. Thanks Kim
    PS I am also an Occupational Therapist and will definitely share your products with my therapist peers


    • Jared Rhodes January 20, 2019 at 11:25 PM #


      Thank you for the feedback, we will take this in to account! It is always so good to hear how our customers are using our products. If you would like to send the phot to us at handizap@gmail.com we would be happy to take a look.

      Thank you for your referrals, if there is anything we can do to make our product more available to you or your colleagues do ot hesitate to reach out!


  5. Lois Malepsy January 22, 2019 at 4:14 PM #

    Are you a US business?


    • Jared Rhodes January 22, 2019 at 11:59 PM #

      Yes we are Lois! Proudly based out of Richmond, Virginia. How can we help you?



  1. The Sixth Digit Stylus - Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads - September 10, 2015

    […] Smith is a mechanical engineer from Virginia Tech and is also the founder of Handizap.  Handizap’s goal is to “create products to help make the lives of the disabled a […]

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