Japanese engineer creates wheelchair that can walk up stairs

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 15:45 EDT
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A robotic wheelchair developed at Japan's Chiba Institute of Technology. Photo: Screenshot via Reuters.
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An engineer at Japan’s Chiba Institute of Technology has designed a new robotic wheelchair with the amazing capability to climb stairs.

In a demonstration video, lead engineer Shuro Nakajima shows off the device’s capabilities, easily overcoming curbs and flights of stairs simply by pushing a joystick.

“Each of the four wheels is independent of one another, so they can each react independently when the chair comes up across some sort of step,” he told Reuters. “They aren’t tied into responding in the same way int he same time.”

“What that means is that it can climb, whether it approaches the step straight on or at an angle, it’s fine either way,” he added. “In that sense, we’ve really pushed wheelchair technology forward.”

Reuters said that Nakajima hopes to have his robotic wheelchair on sale by next year.

The video below is from Reuters, published Tuesday, October 23, 2012.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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