Wheelchair that climbs stairs developed by 4 university students
Individuals on wheelchairs need a certain degree of planning whenever they go places. Ramps and lifts are a must, otherwise going up inclines and stairs will be very problematic.
Four students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and University of the Arts in Zurich took it upon themselves to solve this problem. They developed a prototype wheelchair that can climb up stairs with ease, reports TechRadar.
The students wrote on their website, “The same electric wheelchairs were sold to disabled people for years, whereas everything else like smartphones, electric cars, drones, even robotic vacuum cleaners improved.”
This new kind of wheelchair, dubbed “Project Scewo,” has been in development since 2014. It combines Segway-style self-balancing technology with rubbery tracks to navigate difficult terrain, like loose gravel and slippery surfaces.
Stairs with an incline of 17 to 34 degrees as well as spiral stairs will also be made accessible to the physically challenged.
The website also shows that the rubber tracks and a pair of support wheels can be used to elevate the user to a certain height that would allow face-to-face interactions with a standing person.
For the time being, the prototype is still undergoing upgrades to make it safer, more robust and easier to manufacture. They inventors hope to have a mass-production model ready by next year. They are currently trying to raise funds for the project through Patreon.
Nimble robotic limbs for the mass market may still need a couple more decades to develop. So while we wait for that, it’s refreshing that someone took notice of an existing piece of technology and give it a much-needed upgrade for the more immediate betterment of the lives of the physically challenged. Alfred Bayle /ra
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