Japanese Researchers Create Robot Wheelchair That Can Walk Up Stairs

    October 16, 2012
    Zach Walton
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One of the greatest challenges facing our handicapped population is making sure every building is wheelchair accessible. Unfortunately, some buildings are just too old or small to add ramps or lifts. It can be discouraging, but some of the brightest minds in Japan may have found a solution.

The Chiba Institute Of Technology has created an all-new wheelchair that is capable of walking up stairs. How does it do this? Well, it walks. It’s actually rather hard to describe it, but this wheelchair can lift its wheels to walk up or down stairs. I’m actually surprised that nobody else has come up with this idea.

At the moment, the wheelchair is still in the concept phase. The inventors say that they are mostly done with fine-tuning the movement, but there’s still much work to be done. They hope to start testing the wheelchair among the general population soon to improve the user experience.

This wheelchair isn’t going to be available to the public anytime soon, but it’s a sign of hope. Those who suffer from handicaps will hopefully no longer be affected by them in the near future. Inventions like this wheelchair or exoskeletons may one day give everybody the freedom that walking provides.

  • H. Campbell

    What a beautiful story and what a beautiful concept! It is odd that nobody has come up with this a lot sooner, or if they have, why didn’t they take it further than just the “daydream” stage? The “walking wheelchair” concept wouldn’t be confined to wheelchairs either. As a friend of mine pointed out a minute ago, this design idea could be used for shopping carts, trolleys, crates, maybe even trucks, vans & cars. Who knows how far the “walking wheelchair” concept might go! Let’s keep these ideas coming. The Chiba Institute of Technology is to be highly, highly praised, and Mr. Zach Walton should be praised as well for finding this story & getting it out there for everybody to read.

  • Heidi Rome

    We can begin to imagine what this breakthrough will mean to people confined to wheelchairs; it will improve their mobility and quality of life exponentially by literally allowing them to overcome barriers! It turns the wheelchair into virtual legs! Next, can we bypass the joystick and implant a remote control into the user’s brain, letting them move via thought instead of finger control? Thank you so much to this incredibly innovative and compassionate team of scientists and inventors! How exciting!