A group of Swiss students just conquered one of the biggest obstacles for wheelchair users: stairs.

It's the closest thing to an all-terrain wheelchair the world has ever seen.

Wheelchairs have been around for hundreds of years. And while improvements have been made over time, one obstacle remained — stairs.

Last year, a group of 10 Swiss students unveiled the prototype of a project that may one day make getting around a bit easier for people in wheelchairs.

The team was made up of mechanical and electrical engineering students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Zurich University of the Arts. Together, they developed what would come to be known as the Scalevo electric wheelchair.


All images via Scalevo.

The Scalevo is an electric wheelchair with one very notable, unique feature: Stairs no longer stand in its way.

The team's goal was to develop a "powered wheelchair which meets the demands of daily use and has the ability to climb and descend stairs safely without external help or additional devices."

Watching their video, I'd say mission accomplished.

The chair is able to climb stairs using rubber tracks between the two wheels.

You know, kind of like a tank or WALL-E.


To climb stairs, the user just rolls up with his or her back to the steps and lets the rubber tracks do their thing.

They see me rollin'...

There's also another set of wheels in the back that can lift users up.

But don't expect to see someone rolling past you in a Scalevo chair anytime soon — this is just a prototype.

The team's work was done over the course of just a few months and was intended to be a proof of concept more than anything else.

Part of the Scalevo team's goal is to have their product refined and ready for the Cybathlon Challenge for Robot-Assisted Parathletes (it's exactly what it sounds like) in October 2016.

Just think about how much more accessible the world could be for wheelchair-using individuals if something like this was put to market and made affordable.

Heroes
via The Guardian / YouTube

Beluga whales are affectionately known as sea canaries for their song-like vocalizations, and their name is the Russian word for "white."

They are sociable animals that live, hunt, and migrate together in pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of whales. However, they are naturally reticent to interact with humans, although some solitary belugas are known to approach boats.

Once such beluga that's believed to live in Norwegian waters is so comfortable among humans that it played fetch with a rugby ball.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Many of us are too young to remember the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 of 1986, much less any details about it. But thanks to a viral Facebook post from Misfit History, some attention is being shed on an incredible heroine who saved many American lives in the standoff.

The post reads:

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The truth doesn't hurt for an elementary school teacher in California who's gone viral for teaching her class an empowering remix of one of Lizzo's hit songs.

Ms. Mallari — who teaches at Los Medanos Elementary School in Pittsburg, east of San Francisco — took the singer's song, "Truth Hurts," and reworked the lyrics to teach her students how to be great.

Lizzo's song made history this year for being the longest running number one single from a female rap artist. The catchy original lyrics are about boy problems, but Mallari's remix teaches her students about fairness, helping each other out, and embracing their own greatness.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Newsy People / Twitter

The internet was ablaze after notoriously private actor Keanu Reeves, 55, walked the red carpet at the LACMA Art + Film Gala on Saturday with his new girlfriend, artist Alexandra Grant, 46.

It was refreshing to see a man in Hollywood dating a woman who's age-appropriate. Older actors are notorious for being with women half their age.

Keep Reading Show less
popular