When one's health or physical condition renders them unable to use the stairs in their home, the typical solution proposed is to install a chair lift. However, there are folks for whom this is too extreme a step—those who are not wheelchair-bound and could make it up or down stairs, if they had a little help.
Enter the AssiStep, originally invented by students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and further refined for market by Norwegian design and engineering consultancy Minoko.
The dual-rail AssiStep is purely mechanical, requiring no electricity. Here's how it works:
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The target market isn't just the elderly:
"From the thousands of installations done to date, many different kinds of users enjoy the aid of the AssiStep. The user group spans from kids down to 4 years old and up to seniors in their late 90's. The typical user is a person who finds climbing stairs difficult or intimidating. Some have suffered falls on the ground or in stairs, and for this reason want more support and security when climbing the stairs. The AssiStep works well for people who wish to keep mobile and active while staying safe. In terms of diagnoses, the AssiStep has been developed to assist users who suffer from multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, COPD, users who have suffered strokes and users who need rehabilitation after surgery or injuries."
The system does need to be installed by a certified professional, and the company says it takes three to four hours on average. Here's an installation example condensed down to two minutes:
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The AssiStep is available on five continents (but not in America, which makes me suspect it's because of our lawyers). Click here for a full list.
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"not in America, which makes me suspect it's because of our lawyers" Or it's because of it's construction that makes it less than feasible for matching up to building codes. For example, the pop rivets at 0:24 in the installation video don't inspire confidence in its construction. That is a solvable issue though. I think the design is sound.
It's designed in Norway so I doubt you have to worry about engineering quality and their website implies they're planning on selling in the US. There's a notification mailing list you can sign up to to be notified when it goes on sale in the US.
Those pop rivets aren't structural, I'd guess they're just to stop the glide rail from spinning as the tubing is mounted onto the wall brackets which look like they'll be absolutely fine bearing the load.
This is really great. And it looks like that system can be refined further and made more cheap and customisable for different disabilities. Only thing it lats is the hook for the stick for old folks