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.
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.
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.