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One-of-a-kind skateboard can descend stairs

One-of-a-kind skateboard can d...
The STAIR ROVER is a prototype skateboard designed to descend stairs
The STAIR ROVER is a prototype skateboard designed to descend stairs
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Design sketches for an earlier version of the STAIR ROVER
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Design sketches for an earlier version of the STAIR ROVER
A previous model of the STAIR ROVER featured one large set of three wheels in the rear
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A previous model of the STAIR ROVER featured one large set of three wheels in the rear
An earlier STAIR ROVER experiment, which featured trucks with spinning sets of three wheels on each side
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An earlier STAIR ROVER experiment, which featured trucks with spinning sets of three wheels on each side
The STAIR ROVER is a prototype skateboard designed to descend stairs
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The STAIR ROVER is a prototype skateboard designed to descend stairs
The STAIR ROVER has eight wheels, mounted two-per-side on a pair of trucks that pivot to follow the contours of the stairs
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The STAIR ROVER has eight wheels, mounted two-per-side on a pair of trucks that pivot to follow the contours of the stairs
The STAIR ROVER's flexible deck helps it to conform to the angles of the stairs
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The STAIR ROVER's flexible deck helps it to conform to the angles of the stairs
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Skateboards are definitely a part of the urban landscape, but you know what else is? Stairs. Generally, the two don’t go together – when skateboarders reach a set of stairs, they typically have to pick up their board and carry it. London-based product designer Po-Chih Lai would like to see boarders be able to roll right on down those stairs, however, so he created a one-off skateboard that lets them do just that. It’s called the STAIR ROVER.

“The piece creates a groundbreaking form of sport which previously never existed and utilizes the hidden energy of our cities – stairs,” he states on his blog. “STAIR ROVER – the Stairboard is a product that relies on the other product – stairs, which are found easily within the human habitat, especially in cities.”

The current board is the eighth model that he has created. It has eight wheels, mounted two-per-side on a pair of trucks that pivot to follow the contours of the stairs. The flexible deck is made from maple and bamboo, the trucks and associated hardware are aluminum, while the wheels are rubber.

He explored other approaches in some of his earlier models, including trucks equipped with spinning sets of three wheels on each side, a traditional two-wheeled front truck combined with one big three-wheeler in the back, and a deck equipped with four sets of two-wheeled trucks, instead of the usual two.

An earlier STAIR ROVER experiment, which featured trucks with spinning sets of three wheels on each side
An earlier STAIR ROVER experiment, which featured trucks with spinning sets of three wheels on each side

As you can see in the video below, the latest version of the STAIR ROVER is indeed able to descend stairs. It looks like the underside of the deck does receive a few scrapes, but skateboards are made to be abused, right?

Lai told Gizmag that his board has already received plenty of positive reactions from skaters and the press, and that several sports equipment companies have expressed an interest in it. He said that he definitely expects it to become commercially available in the near future. If you just have to see it now, however, the prototype is currently on display in London at the Royal College of Art’s Show RCA 2012.

Source: Po-Chih Lai via Dezeen

STAIR-ROVER

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9 comments
Gadgety
Impressive invention. I'd like to see it in action in a skate park as well. A side comment: The impressively produced video is over long, with very short snaps of descending the stairs.
planehunter
Very cool idea indeed. I too would have preferred to see more with stairs instead of trying to be so "artsy" in presentation.
Michael Crumpton
It looks like it would only work well on shallow slope steps like in the movie. Also without a way to control your speed going down the stairs it could be very dangerous.
ff
Um.. Is this for the skater that doesn't know how to olly and grind a rail? That has enough confidence to go down stairs? Fun experiment, doesn't seem at all practical.
DoctorDee
Impressive in an academic away. But it's a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist. When a skater comes to a few steps, s/he just ollies down them. When s/he comes to a lot of step s/he just dismounts, walks down and re-mounts. It's hardly a hassle. I've been skating for over 30 years, and I've seen a load of alternatives come and go. This will be a useless board for ordinary riding. It can't be manualled, or ollied - it doesn't look like it will turn very well. As a mechanical project, it's interesting. From a commercial perspective this is a disaster that will sell by the handful at best.
atutin
love it. new boards makes new tricks. maybe a hi speed stair descent or something from parkour I dunno.
Mike Ross
When the Gen X ers retire they will still be able to skateboard down the nursing home steps. What will they think of next.
Trento Bugatti
"Skateboards are definitely a part of the urban landscape, but you know what else is? Stairs. Generally, the two don’t go together – when skateboarders reach a set of stairs, they typically have to pick up their board and carry it" LOL!!! Have you ever watched a skate video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZuvJaBemQs
ELM
If the deck was top mounted; Be handy for shifting furniture down small steps or heavy object in the workshop etc, shame it does not go up as well.