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.