New Zealander Builds Hands-Free Segway-Like Wheelchair, Ogo, for His Friend

With acting moving seat control, the Ogo could mean greater freedom for who use it.

Sean McGrath/Flickr

You know what the best best friends do? Invent something that is going to change their buddy’s life. That is what Kevin Halsall of New Zealand did when he created a hands-free, active-motion wheelchair for his friend Kevin Halsall who was left paraplegic after a skiing accident.

In the explanatory video for the chair, Halsall notes that the key feature of the Ogo is its active moving seat control, which makes it completely hands-free and intuitive to use. All one needs to do is simply lean in the direction that they want to go. He also name-checks the Segway, which appears to have lent technological and intuitive support to the Ogo’s design, as a self-propelled two-wheeled transport.

Halsall, though, was intent on making the Ogo customizable, with optional fat-ass tires that make it an “off-road monster” that will allow Marcus to “go down the beach going 20 kilometers per hour.” The fact that the Ogo requires the user to use their core muscles all the time to stay in balance, Halsall notes, makes occupational therapists “very excited.”

Halsall works on the Ogo (which runs on lithium ion batteries) from his workshop in Otaki, on the North Island of New Zealand. His invention, which took him four years of development, recently won New Zealand’s Innovate Competition, beating out 1,163 other entries. The competition’s judges described the Ogo as “on track to change the lives of thousands.”