After a skiing accident left a best friend paraplegic, an engineer has made it his life’s work to help his disabled friend by creating a hands-free wheelchair. Kevin Halsall, an engineer from New Zealand, designed the battery-powered wheelchair for his disabled friend Marcus Thompson. The chair utilizes balance to control the movement of the hands-free wheelchair, similar to how a Segway functions.
The prototype wheelchair is called The Ogo, and there is currently one in existence. The Ogo has been under development for four years and is currently in the preproduction stage, but he expects the wheelchair to be available to the public soon, with investment backing.
Halsall says The Ogo has given Thompson a new way to communicate and engage the world with ease, more so than what a conventional wheelchair can provide.
“It’s one of the life affirming things that this machine does, it puts you in touch with your whole body again,” Halsall explains. The Ogo Technology website describes the chair,
“Our team has blended cutting edge electronics and battery technology with an innovative intuitive hands free control system, to introduce a new era in personal transportation and freedom of movement for maximum independence.”
The Ogo is equipped with off-road tires, enabling it to maneuver quickly over various terrains with millimeter precise control. Halsall’s invention is a finalist at the National Innovators Awards.
An exact price for The Ogo has not been determined but Halsall hopes that it will be affordable and within the price range of $10,000 to $20,000.