Technology has been making wheelchairsmore convenientand easier to use, but this crazy amazing model that actuallyscales staircasesis a metaphorical mic drop.
This prototype, called the Scalevo, has rubber, tank-like treads mounted to the bottom of the chair. The user approaches a set of steps backwards with his or her back facing the steps. The treads sprout out, lifting the chair up at an angle, allowing it to crawl up the steps. The user is kept level at all times. The headlight-and-taillight-equipped chair has two extra sets of wheels that pop out at the last step to provide smoother transition back to flat ground.
It began as a student project last summer, and now ten electrical engineering and industrial design students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Zurich University of the Arts are working on it. They say the Segway was an inspiration. I guess there’s a first time for everything.
The team wants it ready by next year’s Cybathlon, a race for people with physical disabilities that use assisting robotic tech, like exoskeletons and electrically stimulated muscles.