The Omeo Wheelchair is Still a (Very Expensive) Toy
Back in 2018, I wrote an article reviewing the Omeo (née Ogo). A lot of time has passed since then so let’s take another look at the product and the company that makes it.
Back in December of 2020, the price of the Omeo was listed as $19,950 dollars USD:
By April 2021 the price increased to $22,500 USD:
By August of 2022, the pricing information had been completely removed:
The thing to keep in mind is that the prices listed on the Omeo Technology website don’t include taxes, tariffs, or shipping costs. The price listed on the website includes customization and shipping. This makes it difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the price changes over time.
Updated Information About Funding
in 2019 the section titled Apart from cash, are there other ways to fund the purchase?, said:
The link to Lightstream listed in the original article is no longer functional and there is no archive of it in the Wayback machine.
As of April 2023, that same section now states:
The answer no longer mentions Lighstream.
A Brand New Website
In March 2022, Omeo Technology registered a new website, MyOmeo.com, and marketed it towards American consumers with a focus on user stories and product features.
For example, you’ll find a very little technical information on the American site:
Compared to the New Zealand Site:
In addition to more detailed specifications, the New Zealand site also has an instructional video as well as an extremely detailed user manual. The American site doesn’t appear to have either of these things, which I find really fucking weird. If I had to guess, they’re giving you as little information up front so that you’ll reach out to one of their agents. Omeo doesn’t make it clear whether or not their agents receive any kind of financial compensation or commission for their work.
The Same Old Problems
Despite a new domain, website, and marketing materials, the Omeo still suffers from the same limitations I mentioned in my 2018 article.
It Still Doesn’t Have Armrests
From the FAQ page (US):
Five years later and they still won’t offer the most basic support.
It Still Has Terrible Ground Clearance
The website and user manual list the ground clearance as 85mm (3.3in), roughly the width of a credit card. The user manual states that the Omeo has “2 adjustments of 50mm (2in.) increments in height&” to:
- Increase the ground clearance
- Allow for the Seat to Footplate height to be adjusted according to your leg length.
Assuming these two increments are in addition to the 3.3in base ground clearance, that gives you a total possible ground clearance of roughly 7 inches (177.8mm) or the length of a #2 pencil.
While 7 inches might sound reasonable, keep in mind that the height of the footrest is meant to be adjusted to to your leg length. So, giving yourself maximum clearance could mean putting your knees up closer to your chest, affecting your balance. And, unlike a manual wheelchair, you won’t be able to pop a wheelie to go over taller obstacles.
Additionally, I can’t even tell if you if those ground clearance measurements are accurate. According to the New Zealand FAQ, the ground clearance is roughly 2 inches (50mm):
And the user manual states that an obstacle is anything over 1.5 inches:
Which means you’d struggle to get over a fucking golf tee.
The Off-road Kit (Still) Doesn’t Fit Through Doors
From the FAQ page (US):
For reference, an ADA compliant ramp is 36 inches (91.44cm) wide. With the off‐road tires on, this thing will barely fit on a standard wheelchair ramp.
It’s About The Width of An Airline Seat (And Nothing is Adjustable)
And these measurements are fixed. Seat back, ground clearance and the overall width of the device cannot be adjusted by either the user or the manufacturer. You get what you get.
It Still Can’t Handle Inclines
According to the specifications on the New Zealand site, the Omeo can handle "a 20°- 25° incline and about 30° decline - provided there is sufficient traction".
If you take a look at the steepest streets in Seattle, you’ll notice that several of them exceed this limit — and that’s just for what you can go up and down. If you want to go across an incline, you’re limited to roughly 20 degrees:
Also, if you go down a hill while your battery is fully charged, it may cause the Omeo to shut down:
It Requires a Fucking Helmet
No, seriously. From the user manual:
The promo videos for this fucking thing show a woman using a fucking stove while riding around inside. None of the users in the promotional videos (save for the training manual) show the user wearing a helmet.
In fact, the user manual recommends you wear a helmet no fewer than 5 times.
It (Still) Costs as Much as a Fucking CarFor the cost of an Omeo, you could drive a brand new 2023 Honda accord LX ($27,295.00) off the lot today and still have money left over.
It (Still) Not a Wheelchair
Once again, from their fucking FAQ page:
In fact, I’ll go one step further and say that not only is the Omeo not a wheelchair, it is in fact (mostly) a Segway! From the user manual (emphasis mine):
In total Segway is mentioned 112 times and the Segway PT User Manual is mentioned 63 times. This thing is a goddamn Segway and it’s going to do nothing but make life harder for people in actual powered wheelchairs. If you thought that someone claiming their yappy purse-chihuahua is an emotional support animal in the middle of a Starbucks was bad, wait until somebody in an Omeo crashes into a display case at 12 miles per hour or starts screaming at a manager because they won’t turn off the security scanners to keep from damaging their $30,000 not‐a‐wheelchair (more on that later).
But Wait, There’s More!
Here’s a list of fun facts I just didn’t have time to cover:
- The manual contains 78 separate warnings.
- Carrying anything in your lap will interfere with the Omeo’s ability to balance and may result in serious injury (see: page 63 of the user manual).
- The Omeo takes a full 10 seconds to stop and shut down if you fall out of it (see: page 40 of the user manual). Remember this thing ways over 100lbs and can go 12mph.
- The Omeo is not intended for use at elevations greater than 2,000 metres (6,500ft) above sea level (see: page 41 of the user manual).
- If you go near a security scanner in a building (like every grocery store or concert venue), it could fuck up your 30K dollar toy (see: page 97 and page 5 of the user manual)! They seriously want you to ask the building manager to disable the security scanners so you can safely operate your doo‐dad indoors!
- Whenever the Omeo is not in use, it has to be plugged in to AC power to avoid damaging the batteries (see: page 67 of the user manual).
- The manual wants you to "[e]nsure you have alternative mobility solutions available" in the event of a problem or power failure (see: page 70 of the user manual).
- If you use “low quality or cheap” (their words) batteries in your Omeo’s remote, you risk damaging it and not being able to power on the Omeo (see: page 86 of the user manual).
- The Omeo comes with 4 tie down points (“a requirement on some public transport”) for transport, but is not “designed for a user to remain seated as a passenger or driver in a vehicle” (see: page 79 of the user manual). In other words, if you somehow take this thing on a bus, you’d need to tie it down and then transfer out of it to a normal seat.
- For transport in a car, they recommend you secure the Omeo “using the tie down points and/or Handgrips” (see: page 77 of the user manual) while simultaneously telling you avoid using the handgrips as tie down points (see page: 79 of the user manual).
That’s not even an exhaustive list. I highly encourage you to read through the user manual so you have a full understanding of the limitations of the device.