Permobil’s Explorer Mini Honored by TIME
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Nov 18, 2021
A colorful, pint-sized mobility device for very young children has been honored as one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2021.
Permobil’s Explorer Mini — with its midline joystick, saddle-style seat for standing or sitting, and compact size — was designed for children 12 to 36 months old who have mobility delays.
Bengt Thorsson, Permobil’s CEO/President, said in a Nov. 10 announcement, “We are honored for the Explorer Mini to be recognized by TIME as a Best Invention of 2021 and to be included alongside so many other ground-breaking innovations that are improving the lives of individuals around the world. The inclusion of the Explorer Mini on this list helps to shine a light on the needs of thousands of very young children with mobility impairments. The Explorer Mini isn’t just about getting these children mobile now, but it’s about laying the foundations for life-long social and cognitive development.”
The Explorer Mini’s goal is to provide what Permobil calls “on-time mobility experiences” for very young children who would otherwise not yet be independently mobile “so they can explore and engage with their world in a way that helps them continue their best development.” It’s been cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration as a Class II, prescription-only medical device.
Ginger Walls, PT, MS, NCS, ATP/SMS, Permobil’s Director of Clinical and Technical Education for Permobil Americas, said in the announcement, “Explorer Mini provides young children with mobility impairments the opportunity to gain self-initiated mobility experiences exploring their environment while also promoting postural control, visual-spatial development, and supporting social and emotional benefits.”
Permobil said children with Down syndrome, spinal muscular atrophy, muscular dystrophy, and spina bifida are among those who would be candidates for the Explorer Mini. The Explorer Mini, which is available in a jungle or sea life motif, fits children up to 35 lbs. and 39 inches tall.
The Explorer Mini was honored in TIME’s Accessibility category.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at [email protected].