Behind the Zeens
Hall-of Fame Inventor Garrett Brown revolutionized the craft of filmmaking and broadcasting. Then his own aging parents revealed how abruptly the joy of movement could be taken from someone you love. Here’s the story of how Garrett and partners invented and developed the first Zeen prototypes - to help people challenged by age, injury and disease, recover the joys of daily living.
Garrett holds over 100 patents for a variety of inventions, most famously the Steadicam, which revolutionized filmmaking with a never-before-seen intimacy in shots. His filmography includes over 100 movies such as Rocky, The Shining and Return of the Jedi. Other inventions have allowed viewers to dive into the water alongside Olympic divers, fly across the field during NFL football games and watch Olympic swimmers compete from underwater, as well as helping factory workers operate heavy tools safely and effortlessly, as if in zeroG.
The Zeen was born when Garrett’s father developed mobility issues and had to choose between a walker or a wheelchair. Determined that this “antiquated technology” built to allow only slow, effortful movement not be the only choice for those who wanted more from life, Garrett assembled a team of world-class inventors to help him define a new mobility solution. One that would restore autonomy and freedom – and help recapture some of the joy of living.
Our COO and first hire, Ryan Meers, is responsible for the overall performance of the company and the systems that support it, including engineering, manufacturing, and new product development. He has been instrumental in growing the team and leading efforts to bring the Zeen to market.
Trained in both Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design, Ryan brings a wealth of engineering experiences to the team. He has helped to develop a diverse range of products from beer keg hoists and milk crates, to an infant incubator and other Class III medical devices. Ryan has engineered and overseen fabrication for every Zeen prototype, and has helped it evolve into a device that can truly have an impact on others’ lives - one that makes mobility easy – and even fun – for those who have lost the joy of movement.
Jane handles administration and operations for Exokinetics, a role she has played for a range of startups and small businesses.
An early producer of the TED conference, Jane is now executive producer of EG, an event that gathers makers and doers of extraordinary things.
Petra Rose, Exokinetics own Doctor of Physical Therapy, created the Zeen User Testing Labs early in the Zeen’s development to ensure early prototypes incorporated insights from real-world physical therapy usage of the product. Petra has designed, recruited and run nearly 100 Zeen user tests ranging from fall-risk tests to multi-month in-home ethnographic studies of how mobility-challenged people use the Zeen in real life. She has designed the safety and training curriculum for the Zeen and has been pivotal in directing the engineering team to create a safe, stable, useful product that can truly change the day-to-day lives of its users.
Petra’s expertise comes from over 18 years experience as a physical therapist in hospital settings treating orthopedic, trauma, neurology, burn and wound care patients as well as clinical staff training forMedtronic and extended one-on-one in-home physical therapy for patients with a range of mobility issues.
Daniel Lefebvre has been part of the Exokinetics team as Staff Mechanical Engineer since March 2019. He has seen and has worked on every iteration of the Zeen since we began our focus on the current lightweight folding Zeen. Daniel is also a valued part the marketing rollout for the Zeen, fitting and training potential “Zeeners” and acclimating them to this novel and exciting device.
Dillon Jenkins is the Production & Quality Control Manager at Exokinetics. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of manufacturing. His goal is to build and lead the Production Team to get high quality ZEENs in the hands of our customers, to improve their lives.
Bill has extensive manufacturing experience with tight tolerance assemblies. He is the primary builder of the Zeen and the lead trainer on subassemblies. Bill assists with all functions in Production.
Sebastian has experience in shipping and receiving, with a focus on quality control and inventory management. He helps maintain inventory accuracy in Production and he builds high quality Zeen subassemblies.
Exokinetics was founded by Garrett Brown and his inventing partners to help restore the joy of self-propelled mobility to those whose physical challenges restrict their lives. The company is built upon the belief that age, injury or illness should not mean an end to autonomy, independence and dignity. The right technology can supplement a person’s natural movements and fill the gaps caused by declining capabilities—rather than force the user to conform to a product’s limitations.