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Innovative Stairs Use Recycled Energy To Help You Walk

By Brian Spaen

When we get older, going up and down stairs often becomes a daunting task. Installing an escalator or stair-lift is a good solution, but a costly one, especially for those that need it for temporary purposes. Researchers at two universities may have taken a step in the right direction with a staircase that recycles its own energy while helping people ascend or descend.

Georgia Tech and Emory University created a device that can be placed directly on a set of stairs. Springs inside of each step move the person on an even level for the next one. The steps relieve pressure on ankles and knees by storing energy when descending and releasing it back to the walker when ascending.

According to a report from Georgia Tech, pressure decreases by 26 percent when walking down and it is “37 percent easier on the knee than using conventional stairs” when walking up. The process essentially recreates a consistent forward path for those that struggle to exert enough energy to go up and down, or for those that have ankle and knee problems.