However, there are already wheelchairs that can climb stairs. FDA approves wheelchair that climbs stairs:
WL-16 uses 12 actuators to move forwards, backwards and sideways while carrying an adult weighing up to 60 kilograms (130 pounds). The robot can adjust its posture and walk smoothly even if the person it is carrying shifts in the chair. At present it can only step up or down a few millimeters, but the team plans to make it capable of dealing with a normal flight of stairs.
"I believe this biped robot, which I prefer to call a two-legged walking chair rather than a wheelchair, will eventually enable people to go up and down the stairs," said Atsuo Takanishi, from Waseda University.
Called the iBOT Mobility System, the wheelchair uses sensors and gyroscopes to navigate stairs while balancing on two wheels. Doctors have said the technology is potentially revolutionary. But it is so complex that the FDA decided the wheelchair will require a doctor's prescription and special training to drive. [...]
Most wheelchairs have two big back wheels and two smaller front wheels. The iBOT has four wheels the same size that rotate up and over one another to go up and down steps.
That second one totally looks like Johnny Five from Short Circuit.
I, for one, WELCOME our new robot chesterfields.
THe iBOT is from the same genius that created the Segway scooter, Dean Kaman. I actually believe the iBOT was the original goal, and the Segway became a project that overshadowed the iBOT. Kaman has a history in the medical technology field, starting with miniaturizing pumps.
Yeah, the iBot has been in development since the early 90s. The technology developed for it fed the Segway. Some folks in my circle of friends work for Kamen, and on the iBot, so they were pretty excited when it was finally unveiled and got FDA approval.
that wheel chair has been in epcot for a while.
the innovations part.