Kevin and Marcus met when Marcus was teaching Kevin's daughters at Otaki College. They found that they both shared a love of field archery, and it was over this common passion that their friendship really grew. Their local Kapiti Archery Club offers a particularly unique experience, incorporating native bush trails and other forested areas as well as open grassland.
Kevin saw Marcus, a paraplegic since 2003, struggling through the rough terrain in his conventional wheelchair, sapping his energy and stamina. Just wanting to make it easier for Marcus, Kevin, a product design engineer, set himself a challenge; to develop a device that would increase Marcus' mobility and give him freedom of movement so that he could compete as an equal.
Kevin’s extensive research led him to proven, self-balancing technology. Through several years of development while still doing design work for his regular clients Kevin utilised this technology to create an active, moving seat control system. Using upper body mobility or core muscle strength, the driver can lean forward and the Ogo moves forward, when he or she leans back the Ogo stops or reverses. When they lean to the side, the Ogo moves in the new direction - including turning on its own axis.
Kevin has overseen three major prototype designs, making changes as he came to understand the restrictions that comes with limited movement and mobility. Marcus, who has a background in engineering, has been our eager test pilot from the beginning. He has been pushing the Ogo to it's limits, providing Kevin with valuable feedback on performance and design ideas.
Many folks with varying abilities and disabilities have tested the Ogo with instant delight. Just look at their smiles in our videos. A smile of new possibilities, freedom, independence, job and recreation opportunities. We call it the Ogo smile.
Our testing so far has been very rewarding. We have met so many wonderful and determined people, and our team has been really impressed with how the Ogo works for differing levels of ability. Early on in our testing phase we realised that with a few design tweeks, the Ogo has application for every sector of the community.
It doesn't stop with the Ogo! The more he gets immersed into the world of personal mobility the more Kevin realised how under-provided it is. This has given him more innovative ideas to help change people's lives. Kevin aims to develop these ideas by creating a range of other Ogo products and accessories to make life easier and more exciting in the world of mobility. More to come...
Team Ogo is a small, talented group of people, dedicated to Ogo's mission to change peoples lives for the better.
Read L to R: Della Blackford- IT and Video Production, Mike Redman- Chief Financial Officer, Erina Halsall- Brand Manager and Graphic Design, Kevin Halsall- Founder and Chief Designer, Norman Elder- Video Production, Marcus Thompson- User Experience, Cath Keno- Office and Accounts Manager, Stuart Ayres- Chief Executive Officer, Alan Rennie (absent), Director of Engineering and Production, Kay Halsall (absent)- Co founder