Wheelchairs Can Now Climb Stairs With Tank Treads

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Swiss students have designed the kryptonite for the wheelchair’s mortal enemy: stairs.

With clever engineering, going off-road in a wheelchair has been made possible with bigger wheels or tank treads and lightweight frames and slim tires make for capable racing models. But one to conquer stairs? This has always been an insurmountable problem for anyone confined to a wheelchair.

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This is changing with Scalevo, an wheelchair that uses both rubber tires and tank trades. Developed by ten students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and the Zurich University of the Arts, this radical new invention can scale a staircase by deploying treads from below the chair’s chassis. The treads adjust with the incline, maintaining the riders’ upright posture during the ascent or descent.


For normal driving, the regular rubber tires allow for a speedy ride and agile maneuvering.

Currently, the chair must be ridden backwards up stairs, but continued development should see drastic improvements in climbing speeds. But this is a wonderful development that will have a really good impact on the lives of many people. In fact, many wheelchair users may finally be able to get the staircase of their dreams from Pear Stairs installed at home.


Scalevo is only in its prototype stage right now, but a more refined version of the wheelchair will be present at Cybathlon Chamionship 2016, a race for students designed assistive devices.

The successful development of Scalevo could make the lives of disabled individuals much easier, and TechDrive wishes the team the best of luck as they continue to develop their incredible wheelchair.

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