Inventor Road Trip

By:  Richard Caro   |  Posted: February 23, 2015   |  Updated: April 7, 2023


Earlier this month we invited the inventor of a new type of walker to come along to one of the Longevity Explorer circle meetings and show the older adults members of our circle the prototype of her invention and get their feedback. It was pretty interesting. This article is about the experience.


The inventor: Elaine Levin

Elaine is a regular member of our Aging in Place Meetups, and suffers from MS. Motivated by her own desire for empowerment, she conceived of an idea for a better type of “walker” that would let her go wherever she wanted to go. With her own funds she came up with the ideas, found a designer who was willing to partner with her, and together they developed an initial prototype of an all-terrain walker Elaine calls the Podna Rover.

I have known Elaine for maybe a year now, and first was exposed to her ideas when she showed the Podna Rover at one of our Meetups. She has not yet managed to attract professional investors to her idea, and was looking for help. We thought she might benefit from the chance to interact with one of our circles about Podna Rover, and we knew the older adult members of our circle would find her concept interesting.

We were hopeful that exposing the concept to a broader audience of potential customers might help identify some of the ‘bugs”. But we also hoped that the interaction would shed more light on exactly why people would want something like this, and which exact type of person might especially value it.


The Invention: All-terrain walker.

It seems a key feature of the Podna Rover is it’s ability to work in a variety of different terrains. In the video below, you can see it handles grass and some slope pretty well. But perhaps more importantly, this all-terrain feature is helpful any time there is a bit of a rough surface. As Elaine explained it to us, a conventional walker has big problems any time there are bumps, lumps, or other irregularities.

The circle: Eskaton Village Carmichael.

The Longevity Circle at Eskaton Village Carmichael is one of the first circles and it has a core group of enthusiasts who come along each time to interact about challenges of aging, and potential solutions.

For this meeting there were roughly 9 members attending, plus me as facilitator (with the help of John Milford), Elaine, and Therese ten Brinke from Eskaton.


Roadtrip: Inventor meets potential customers.

The members had quite a few comments and critiques. You can hear the whole thing (and watch some more video clips of the interaction) here:

Watch the demonstration and listen to the discussion (Members only).






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