Japanese Researchers Built A Wheelchair That Climbs Stairs

Life in a wheelchair is fraught with logistical problems, among them the need for ramps to circumnavigate even small steps. To make things easier, researchers at the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan have developed a wheelchair that can climb stairs.

Its wheels double as legs that can be lifted individually, while keeping the seat level, according to DigInfo TV. Group leader Shuro Nakajima explains that the chair, which is in fact a robot, has sensors in its ‘feet’ that detect the proximity and size of a step.

It’s unclear if this design can climb a staircase in addition to handling one step at a time, but it’s definitely more agile, if less useful off-road, than the tank-inspired wheelchair we featured last month.

Nakajima notes it is still in the concept phase; the next step is to “fine-tune the user experience.”

Depending on when it hits the market and the price tag, this could be a major boon for wheelchair users in cities, where curbs and low steps abound.

Watch it in action in this report from DigInfo TV:

SEE MORE: A Disabled Man Has Spent 50 Years Building A Helicopter From Trash

[Via The Wall Breakers]

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