If you haven't ridden in a stair-climbing wheelchair, it may be difficult to picture how this works in practice. In order to climb stairs, the user goes through the following steps: firstly, The user backs up to the first step and holds on to the stair railing. Secondly, The user shifts his weight over the rear wheels, causing the chair to begin rotation of the front wheels up over the rear wheels and then down onto the first step. Third, As the user shifts his weight backward and forward, the chair senses this and adjusts wheel position to keep the user's center of gravity under the wheels. Finally, The chair ascends stairs backwards, and descends stairs forward, which allows the user to always be facing down the stairs.
A stair-climbing vehicle, for use with a wheeled vehicle, comprising: a support unit, a climbing unit connected to said support unit, wherein the climbing unit comprises at least one climbing element, which can be driven by a drive motor and is designed such that the climbing unit can get in contact with an upper surface of a next step of a stair and either lift or lower the stair-climbing device on to the next step, a control unit for controlling operation of the climbing unit, and a detection unit for detecting a current position of the support unit with respect to one or several steps of the stair, wherein the detection unit comprises at least three non-contact sensors, wherein the detection unit provides signals to the control unit which signals contain information about the current position of the support unit with respect to one or more steps of the stair; wherein the control unit is adapted to control operation of the climbing unit depending on signals of the detection unit; and wherein the non-contact sensors are arranged in a central portion of said support unit. Most stairlifts require constant pressure on the operating switch to make them work. Keeping this pressure on during travel can be painful, particularly if you have limited mobility in your hands or painful conditions such as Arthritis.
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