Scalevo wheelchair has treads to go up steps

Interesting Engineering

Wheelchair design has been changing for the better thanks to advancements in technology. We have seen wheelchairs that can take their occupants over the roughest terrain imaginable and now there is the Scalevo wheelchair, a chair that is able to go up and down steps.


[Image Source: Scalevo]

The Scalevo wheelchair is able to tackle steps thanks to its design of tank like treads of rubber that have been placed on the bottom of the chair. To go up steps the user simply turns their back to the steps and goes up them with their back facing them. The treads come out of the bottom and they lift the wheelchair, to tilt it at an angle, which allows it to safely crawl up the steps with the user being seated level at all times while it is climbing the steps. The chair also features headlights and taillights and comes with two sets of wheels that are able to pop out when the user reaches the least step to ensure a smooth transition when going back to ground that is flat.


[Image Source: Scalevo]

The wheelchair started out life as a project for students in the summer of last year and now 10 industrial design and electric engineering students from the Zurich University of Arts and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology are at work on it. One of things the design for the wheelchair took inspiration from was the Segway.

The designers working on it are hoping that they will have the Scalevo wheelchair ready in time for the Cybathlon championship race for people with physical disabilities, which will be held in 2016. People taking part in the race rely on robotic technology such as exoskeletons along with equipment that electrically stimulated their muscles.