One of the huge problems facing people confined to wheelchairs is how to navigate their way up and down stairs. Until now the only solutions were to install a lift of some sort, either via the staircase or a separate elevator, which is not only hugely expensive, but subject to all sorts of limitations due to space and layout. Now an enterprising German company has come up with an alternative that could change things dramatically.
The StairMax is an ingenious battery powered tracked device which has been designed to give standard wheelchairs the ability to climb up and down stairs and steps. To operate the device, the user simply backs the wheelchair up to the StairMax and clamps it into place. The whole rig is then manually positioned at the stairs and an electric motor is engaged to do the transportation. See the video below.
The whole process looks to be very seamless, although the designers do stress that you need to have banisters on the stairs to act as a steadying anchor during transit. The key point about this product is it gives the wheelchair owner independence of movement inside a multi-floor building, which is something you currently can’t have without an elevator installed. The price of the StairMax is €4,800 plus a €200 conversion charge if you want to use your own chair. You can also buy a complete wheelchair and climber unit combined for €5,650.