BDN reports on mobility device invented by UMaine professors

The Bangor Daily News reported on the Afari mobility device, which was invented by University of Maine professors Stephen Gilson and Elizabeth DePoy. Gilson and DePoy not only teach disability studies — but are both persons with disabilities. When Gilson convinced DePoy in 2008 that she should complete a triathlon, she ran into a major problem with balance during training, the BDN reported. “We looked around for a device, and we could only find stigmatized, ugly devices,” DePoy said. “Stephen’s background is in art. I said, ‘Let’s invent something that looks good and that functions, too.’” The pair worked with Vince Cacesse, a friend who is a professor of mechanical engineering at UMaine, to develop a prototype for the Afari. The three-wheeled device allows users to stand up straight — not hunched over — as they walk or run with the balance and stability support they need. It has brakes and active steering, and its functionality is matched by its sleek, contemporary appearance, the article states. “We wanted a design that would be functional, that somebody would be proud to use in public,” Gilson said. The Afari also was mentioned in a Bangor Daily News story about Henry Seekins, who uses the device to get outside and meet people. It has been “a game changer” for the Seekins family after Henry’s accident seven years ago, the BDN reported. News Center Maine also reported on the Afari.