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Future Tech: 

This wheelchair can climb stairs at the push of a button


Stair climbing capabilities at the push of a button

Usually, anyone in a wheelchair is restricted only to places with special access. But this could change that. It’s called Scalevo, and it’s a wheelchair that can climb stairs.

The two-wheeler has two treaded tracks like a tank that drop down when it’s time to climb. With these deployed, the chair can climb backwards upstairs, keeping the person in the seat upright at all times. It can handle stairs on a slope between 17 and 34 degrees, and goes at the impressive speed of one stair per second. It can even climb spiral staircases! So that bachelor pad is no longer off limits. (We’ll let you decide if that’s a good thing.)

But that’s not all it can do. It uses gyroscopic technology like a Segway in ‘balance mode’ to rotate on the spot and quickly change direction. Which is surely more convenient than pulling a three-point turn.

It’s the brainchild of 10 students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and the Zurich University of the Arts. Overseeing the group of engineers and industrial designers are Dr. Roland Siegwart and Dr. Roland Haas.

Miro Voellmy, a mechanical engineer at ETH Zurich told Reuters: “The great thing is that everything on this wheelchair is automated. If I want to climb the stairs I can just drive up to them, turn around, press one button and all I have to do is control the velocity I want to drive at. The alignment on the stairs, the levelling of the wheelchair driver, is automated and he can control it, he can view the back with a back-facing camera, and have a full, safe, driving experience.”

It’s not yet for sale, but the team is considering putting it on Kickstarter. It could change millions of live around the world.

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