Maine Small Business and UMaine Researchers Collaborating on $225K Grant for Usability Testing of Adaptive Mobility and Fitness Device

The R.M. Beaumont Corporation of Brunswick, ME and three University of Maine Researchers are collaborating on a $225K National Institutes of Health (NIH) Phase 1 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to complete the design, safety and usability testing of AFARI™, a three-wheeled, aesthetically designed, adaptive mobility and fitness device.

AFARI™, invented by Elizabeth Depoy and Stephen Gilson, professors of Interdisciplinary Disability Studies and Social Work; and Vince Caccese, professor in Mechanical Engineering, is designed to facilitate movement for individuals who have balance deficits, a fear of falling, and/or a condition such as osteoarthritis that is eased by unloading body weight, so they may participate in upright outdoor walking, jogging, or running on diverse terrain.

“Osteoarthritis has been diagnosed in over 15% of the US population and is the primary cause of musculoskeletal lower extremity disability,” notes DePoy. “Unfortunately there is o cure of osteoarthritis and ultimately, many patients resort to invasive joint replacement surgeries due to pain and decreased mobility. Current research indicates that exercise remains the core treatment to manage osteoarthritis regardless of age, comorbidity, pain, severity or disability.”

Over the one-year grant period, DePoy Gilson and Caccese will research the major barriers to commercialization of AFARI™ so that they can be eliminated. Ryan Beaumont and Caccese are co-principal investigators on the project.

AFARI™ Jogger Folded
AFARI™ Jogger Side