Swiss stairclimber wheelchair could hit market late next year

A crowdfunded prototype stair-climbing wheelchair hopes to reach mass production stage and to hit the mobility market by the end of 2018.

Students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and University of the Arts in Zurich have developed a wheelchair which is able to climb stairs unaided.

Project Scewo, as it has been dubbed, has been in development since 2014 and combines a Segway-style self-balancing wheel with a set of rubbery tracks.

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The chair claims to be able to climb stairs with a slope of between 17 and 34 degrees, including spiral stair cases.

“Currently, we are simplifying the system to make it more robust, safer and easier to manufacture,” the development team says on its website. “We will also have to pass certification before starting sales.”

The team believes electric wheelchairs have not advanced as quickly as other forms of technologies, such as phones, electric cars and even robotic vacuum cleaners.

“Our goal is to combine the new technologies and an aesthetic design to develop a new generation [of] wheelchair. It will give back enjoyable and flexible mobility to those in need and let them engage wherever life takes them,” they said.

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