21 Mar 2016
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Kiwi inventor turns to crowdfunding platform to get prototype to the masses

By Catherine Knowles

Kevin Halsall, an inventor hailing from Otaki in the Kapiti Coast, is working to revolutionise the mobility market with a hands-free mobility device.

Created in Halsall’s workshop with development input from his friend, paraplegic Marcus Thompson, the Ogo uses self-balancing technology so it moves intuitively, with the user leaning in the direction they want to move. When the user doesn’t want to use the seat steering, there is a small, thumb controlled joystick option that can be mounted on the left or right side.

“For a person with a disability, and those around them, it means freedom” Thompson says.

After winning Innovate 2015 with their initial prototype, the team have now turned to crowdfunding site Indiegogo to help fund the next stage of development before heading into production.

“After the last five months testing the Ogo with varying levels of disabilities we’ve realised that with a few design adjustments, it can help many, many others. So by fundraising for the new prototypes we can confirm that we have the ultimate machine before we go into production later in the year” says Halsall.

As part of the campaign, every contributor is assured the chance to own their own Ogo before they go on general sale. For contributions of US$1000, contributors can receive one of the first 100 production models. Early-adopters can also get their hands on their own hand-built Ogo prototype for US$40,000.

“The production models will be considerably more affordable - we’re hoping for around US$13,000 each, however, we do have people asking to have one now, at any price. If it helps get the ultimate machine to the people who need them, sooner, why not?” Halsall says.

The campaign has so far raised 26% of its goal, with another 18 days to go.

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