They say necessity is the mother of invention, but this time it was actually the mother of Canadian inventor Shlomo Shwartz. When he saw her using a stool to grab something from an out-of-reach shelf, he was inspired to come up with a safer solution. And so the Shelevator—an elevator for shelves—was born.

The contraption consists of a box that's raised and lowered by a slide-out mechanism, so items can be easily retrieved at counter level. It's operated with a low-tech pull rod and cord, while a set of strong chains do the actual lifting so heavy loads aren't a problem. It might not be the simplest solution to the problem, but it seems a lot safer than precariously balancing on a stool.

Shwartz is currently looking for funding to put his creation into production, but in the meantime he plans to sell DIY kits on eBay for $40 a pop. If only the video if it in action didn't give away the secrets of how it works. [Dragon's Den via Gizmag]