A team of researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University have developed a mechanical staircase that assists people with mobility impairments. Existing staircases can be adapted to accommodate the device, which decreases the stress on knees and ankles allowing for an easier climb. The prototype features low-power, modular steps with springs and sensors to compress and expand when in use, reducing knee stress by up to 37%.
Lena Tina, a co-author of the paper and a professor of biomedical engineering at Emory and Georgia Tech wrote, “current solutions for people who need help aren’t very affordable. Elevators and stair-lifts are often impractical to install at home. Low-cost, easily installed assistive stairs could be a way to allow people to retain their ability to use stairs and not move out of their homes.”
The team’s paper, "Stair negotiation made easier using novel interactive energy-recycling assistive stairs," was published on July 12. Source: Jason Maderer, Georgia Tech News Center.