Licensing Deal Brings Afari Mobility Device to Market (UMaine News)
Source: Licensing deal brings Afari mobility device invented by UMaine professors to market (UMaine News, March 22, 2022)
In 2013, professor of interdisciplinary disability studies and social work Elizabeth DePoy had been persuaded by her husband to run in a 5K. She knew she was fit enough to complete the course, but balance challenges had her worried about competing.
She began searching for a device that would allow her to run upright with adequate support and found nothing.
It was then that DePoy turned to her husband, professor of interdisciplinary disability studies and social work Stephen Gilson, and said “Let’s invent something that looks good and that functions.”
What the pair came up with was a sleek, three-wheeled device designed to facilitate upright mobility and help users maintain balance while effortlessly navigating all kinds of terrain. They called it the Afari, and using a prototype built by professor of mechanical engineering Vince Caccese, DePoy completed her 5K. Better still, she came away with a long list of ideas for how to improve it.
Even in its early stages, the Afari attracted significant attention. This was anticipated — DePoy and Gilson knew there was a need for thoughtfully designed products that people with mobility challenges would be proud to use.
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Photo courtesy of Mobella.