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Assistive stairs to help in climbing up and down
July 23, 2017, 2:42 pm

Researchers have developed an energy-recycling mechanical staircase that uses little power and can be placed on existing staircases. The inventors hope their innovative staircase technique will one day help older adults or those who are mobility-impaired by making climbing and descending staircases easier on the knees and ankles.

Engineers at Georgia Tech and Emory University in the US invented the prototype, which works through a system of springs and pressure sensors. The springs in the stairs compress when someone walks down the stairs, which reduces the impact on the ankle joint by 26 percent. When climbing stairs, the springs give the user a boost by releasing the stored energy, making it 37 percent easier on the knee.

The engineers pointed out that current solutions for people who need help in maneuvering staircases such as escalators or stair-lifts are often expensive and impractical to install in homes. Low-cost, easily installed assistive stairs could very well be a way to allow people to retain their ability to use stairs and not move out of their homes.

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