ThyssenKrupp's Wonkavator-style elevator isn't the strangest way of getting around buildings you'll see this year. Architecture graduate Elena Larriba has unveiled a novel alternative to climbing stairs and using elevators – it's named Vycle, and it would let you pedal your way between floors.
Bringing to mind the treehouse elevator, Vycle is still pretty early in development, but Larriba, who's a postgraduate studying at London's Royal College of Art, has produced a working prototype. It's balanced with counterweights to take a lot of the effort out of moving upwards, and you wouldn't fall to your doom if you stopped pedalling for whatever reason.
"The prototype developed until now is just a proof of concept to test how does it feel to lift your own body weight," explains Larriba. "In the prototype, the gearing ratio is set to 10 percent which means that a person that weighs 70 kg (154 lb) only needs to push 7 kg (15.4 lb)."
Obviously it's not going to be practical to pedal this thing to the top of a skyscraper, and Larriba doesn't see it replacing stairs or elevators, either. Instead, she sees it as potentially useful for climbing up temporary structures like cranes and scaffolding.
"In the construction sector, around a quarter of the workforce is aged over 50," explains Larriba. "Vycle is an alternative to long ladders often used in these temporary works that can offer the user a more sustainable and safer way to navigate through scaffoldings, cranes or transmission towers."
Office spaces are also mentioned as a possible use for the Vycle, which seems pretty doable. We could definitely imagine it being installed in one of those trendy workplaces filled with foosball tables and slides that some tech startups seem to favor, for example.
It's early days yet, but Larriba told us that she would love to try and bring the Vycle to market once the concept has been refined. The prototype can be seen in use, in the following video.