This Four-Legged Wheelchair Climbs Steps Like a Mountain Goat

Researchers at the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan have come up with a four-legged wheelchair design that lets the mobility device tackle steps and other obstacles that it simply couldn't with just four wheels. And it keeps its passenger level and perfectly safe when it's tip-toeing over uneven terrain.

Like a regular wheelchair this concept rolls around on a set of wheels most of the time, but it can use two sets of pivoting legs to climb over obstacles like steps or ditches. The rider simply needs to use a joystick to direct where they want the chair to go, and a collection of sensors will automatically determine if that involves rolling or a climbing action. The unique design even lets the chair spin in its own footprint, which makes navigating and escaping tight spaces a lot easier. It's not available yet, but hopefully soon so those needing the chair can use those legs to kick the fenders of vehicles illegally parked in handicapped spots. [DigInfo TV]

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Harry Sawyers

This seems similar to Dean Kamen's stair-climbing robot, the precursor to the Segway.