While volunteering at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Reginald Maling met a young man paralysed from the neck down. He had very little voice, and could only alert nurses by blowing on a whistle hung near his mouth. Maling designed a suck or blow mouthpiece that enabled the man to activate mechanisms to turn on a light, or the TV, and eventually use an electric typewriter.
Maling called his invention Patient Operated Selector Mechanism or POSM. As a near match for the word Possum – Latin for ‘I can’ – it became our Company name when it was founded in 1961.
Today Possum continues to develop innovative Assistive Technology (AT) solutions to help people with a range of needs including the elderly and people with learning difficulties. As a result of our efforts, in 2009 we received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.
We use technology to empower people with disabilities by increasing their independence. We do this in two ways: through Possum Limited and an independent charity, the Possum Trust.
As an independent, privately owned British company we develop, manufacture, supply, install and support AT products and systems. We assess our clients’ needs and abilities, as well as train and support them in the use of their equipment.
As the benefits of AT become more valued, additional funds are becoming available from Government, charities and other sources to bring this technology to ever more people.