USF Affiliate to Present Off-Roading Rover to Injured Outdoorsman

TAMPA, Fla. (April 24, 2009) – A 23-year-old Mississippi man who lost use of his arms and legs in an accident will become the first recipient Monday of a Mobili T Rover™, a rugged-construction wheelchair designed to power through beaches, parks and wilderness areas.


Michael Foradori, a once avid hunter and outdoorsman, will receive the rover during a visit to Rehab Ideas, a University of South Florida spin-off company created to license and market inventions geared toward giving those with disabilities greater mobility.


“What we are giving him is more of an independent lifestyle,” said Dana Roeling, chief operating officer of Rehab Ideas. “It’s like a new lease on life.”


The Mobili T Rover™ was created by students in USF engineering class who were given an assignment to devise a project that would help students with disabilities. Travis Watkins, a student in the class, developed the rover for his father who had been unable to enjoy his favorite walks on the beach due to Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).


The off-road platform of the Mobili T Rover™ makes that possible again. The base platform is powered by the wheels of a power wheelchair, but its rugged construction allows the user to access outdoor recreational areas not typically accessible in a standard wheelchair.  The rover has the look of an all terrain vehicle or dune buggy with its sleekly designed fenders, roll bar and 24” tires and rims.


Foradori will receive the rover at 11 a.m. at the Rehab Ideas offices in the USF Research Park, 3802 Spectrum Blvd, Ste. 112. Foradori also will meet with university rehab specialists for a fitting on a new wheelchair and tour Tampa Bay on a boat designed to accommodate those who use wheelchairs. Other products developed by students and manufactured by Rehab Ideas include the Trayaway™ and Backpack Retriever™.


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The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.