Style Meets Advanced Function at Mobella

By Jolene Montgomery

At the Abilities Expo in New Jersey this weekend, you may see people walking in completely new ways, thanks to a new device that you can try at the show. This is the Afari All-Terrain Walker by Mobella and it is not a typical walker.

Mobella Launched to Create Beautiful, Life-Changing Mobility Products

When Henry Kaufman was paralyzed by Guillain-Barre syndrome, a paralysis that ascends the body rapidly, doing what damage it will until it then descends, he had to rethink things. Still able to ambulate, Henry wanted something that had a beautiful style, something new and dynamic looking. Sure enough, the first thing you notice about the Afari is that it is beautifully designed.

Mobella Bike

Henry recounts the story of attending the opera on an idyllic Manhattan evening a few years ago. There, he saw a woman with her family, beautifully dressed in a lovely gown, her hair and makeup perfected for this wonderful evening. He saw her making her way through the crowd on one of those aluminum walkers…with yellow tennis balls on its rear feet.

For Henry, this story encapsulates his belief that products are not just about function, but they are also an outward display of how we feel about ourselves and how we want others to view us. So, when Henry couldn't find products that reflected his personal image or brand, he took action and created Mobella.

Off-Road Trike Takes Mobility to the Next Level

Meanwhile, at the University of Maine, Liz Depoy and her husband Stephen Gilson were inventing something to keep Liz's unsteady balance from disrupting her life.

Both disability studies experts at the University of Maine—and both persons with disabilities—they quickly realized the key to accomplishing Liz's goal was finding a way to support her "terrible balance."

"We looked around for a device, and we could only find stigmatized, ugly devices," Liz recalls. "Stephen's background is in art. I said, 'Let's invent something that looks good and that functions, too." With the help of Vince Cacesse, a good friend and professor of mechanical engineering at the university, they created the prototype for the Afari, with a combination of details that make it special. "We wanted a design that would be functional, that somebody would be proud to use in public," Stephen added.

Mobella Trike

The couple wanted users to be able to stand up straight, not stooped over, as they walk or run with the balance, support and stability they need. Since the Afari is intended to take people outside, it also has brakes and active steering that make it suitable for a range of activities. Most importantly, the Afari's functionality is matched by its stylish, contemporary appearance. Or, as Liz simply puts it, "It's cool. It's not about being able to do things I used to," she continues. "I want to keep trying new things altogether!"

Henry first laid eyes on Liz and Stephen's Afari at the 2018 Access + Ability exhibition in New York City. Since that first momentous encounter, Henry and the Mobella team have taken the Afari concept, added design elements and new features, and brought it to market under the Mobella brand. With Afari leading the way, Mobella is excited to launch more mobility products and connected solutions in the near future!

Test drive Mobella All-Terrain Walkers at Abilities Expo

According to William Staerker, Head of Marketing for Mobella, the Afari fit perfectly as the first product launched as part of Mobella's mission to remedy stigma-driven under-adoption of assistive devices with its portfolio of beautiful and intelligent connected mobility solutions.

The Afari is a very cool all-terrain walker. It has armrests like a triathlon bike which puts less pressure on the user's hands and wrists, making it more comfortable.

Mobella Trike

There are more choices to customize the Mobella trikes to the user, including a wheel package that has traditional bike tires or a fat tire model. The Afari Commuter can go on light trails and other areas that a traditional walker cannot, giving people freedom to explore different terrain, and will be available for a test drive at the Mobella booth this weekend.

You will find both the Commuter, at the sale price of $1599, and the Afari off-road version, $2399, selling both at the show and on Mobella's website. Options like a 30-day trial program and White Glove service for direct sales make it easy to own. It is even made in the USA! The team will be in booth #644, ready to introduce you to your Mobella experience.

Mobella in the city

Pre-Register for Abilities Expo Today...It's Free!

Sign up for the Abilities Buzz

Stay in the know on disability news and info.