MINNEAPOLIS — Crutches have largely stayed the same over
the last decade, but folks at Minneapolis-based Mobi believe it's
time for the venerable walking aid to undergo a 21st century
makeover. From a design standpoint, the company's Mobilegs and
Mobilegs Ultra feature soft saddles, saddle pivots, hand grips and
universal rocker feet.
"Our mission is to establish entirely new benchmarks in the
world of assisted mobility technology," said Todd Nelson, director
of retail sales and business development. "Let's call it the
freedom of movement, movement."
The company's "Mobi Manifesto" declares its new line, set to
launch in July, is "human-engineered for comfort, safety and
usability, easily upgradable, sustainably conceived and
manufactured" and "infinitely customizable by the individual."
Mobi is also employing some 21st century marketing techniques to
attract a younger consumer. The website at www.mobilegs.com is
positioned to provide a branded, connected experience via social
networking sites such as Facebook, with tools for users to have
their Mobilegs signed by family, friends and physicians. After the
virtual "signing," message-laden MobiE-sign skins will ship the
"Customizing Mobilegs with more than 50 upcoming skins
that can be applied adds a further component of individuality and
customization to what can be a not-so-fun experience," said Nelson,
adding that "boomers and millenials alike have also become more
design-oriented and demand more from the products out in the
marketplace — in both function and aesthetic."
With broad-spectrum appeal to design enthusiasts, the upstart
company is calling out to consumer magazines such as Details,
GQ and Men's Health as primary targets for reaching
younger men and women. "The skins offer a broad appeal to men and
women alike," said Nelson. "We are also targeting the primary
caregiver — mom — who will know about where to get
upgrades and connect to the Internet to order Mobiskins."
Mobi's design guru Jeff Weber experienced a broken heel a few
years ago that relegated him to crutches for an extended time.
Weber described his search for a comfortable, well-designed product
as futile to difficult at best, so he set out to do something about
"What he found was uncomfortable and not designed with the
mechanics of the human body in mind," said Nelson. "The products he
found were also unattractive and without the power of brand and
design. Jeff became aware of an opportunity to brand where there
was no brand — to design intuitively where there was little
design — creating a new synergy of design and functionality
Weber should know. He has designed some of the most successful
products in the consumer marketplace, such as the Aeron and Embody
Chairs by Herman Miller and PUR Water Filtration systems. He's also
the one who dubbed his newest design Mobi.
Company officials envision Mobilegs as the first in a continuum
of mobility products that will include the Mobiwalk (a walker),
Mobistick (cane), Mobibone (cast) and Mobiroller (wheelchair).
Along with a "spectacular brand and design," Nelson said Mobi
offers "a social experience and above all, comfort and support for
patients." Mobi Universal "does fall within the realm of
reimbursement for insurance," he said.