Sometimes the best inventions are those that don’t actually invent anything new, but instead improve upon existing problems. A wheelchair may not be as sexy or portable as a smartphone, but its reinvention could have a major impact for people with disabilities that find normal wheelchairs cumbersome or inhibiting.
Meet Scalevo, the wheelchair designed by a team of nine university students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology that can walk up and down stairs. The electric wheelchair operates normally when navigating flat ground with “Segway-like” technology, balancing on two wheels. However, with the push of a button, the chair will align itself with a set of stairs and use two rubber tracks on the bottom to propel itself, while adjusting the angle of the chair in order to stay balanced.
The fully-working prototype was developed over the course of a year, with plans to make a commercial version available. The team also states on its website that its design will compete in the Cybathlon Championship, a racing competition for individuals with disabilities, assisted by robotic technologies.
Watch the video demonstrating its amazing capabilities here.
What Sparks Our Fire: Students solving old problems using cutting-edge technology and brilliant design