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One-of-a-kind skateboard can descend stairs

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June 22, 2012

The STAIR ROVER is a prototype skateboard designed to descend stairs

The STAIR ROVER is a prototype skateboard designed to descend stairs

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Skateboards are definitely a part of the urban landscape, but you know what else is? Stairs. Generally, the two don’t go together – when skateboarders reach a set of stairs, they typically have to pick up their board and carry it. London-based product designer Po-Chih Lai would like to see boarders be able to roll right on down those stairs, however, so he created a one-off skateboard that lets them do just that. It’s called the STAIR ROVER.

“The piece creates a groundbreaking form of sport which previously never existed and utilizes the hidden energy of our cities – stairs,” he states on his blog. “STAIR ROVER – the Stairboard is a product that relies on the other product – stairs, which are found easily within the human habitat, especially in cities.”

The current board is the eighth model that he has created. It has eight wheels, mounted two-per-side on a pair of trucks that pivot to follow the contours of the stairs. The flexible deck is made from maple and bamboo, the trucks and associated hardware are aluminum, while the wheels are rubber.

He explored other approaches in some of his earlier models, including trucks equipped with spinning sets of three wheels on each side, a traditional two-wheeled front truck combined with one big three-wheeler in the back, and a deck equipped with four sets of two-wheeled trucks, instead of the usual two.

An earlier STAIR ROVER experiment, which featured trucks with spinning sets of three wheel...
An earlier STAIR ROVER experiment, which featured trucks with spinning sets of three wheels on each side

As you can see in the video below, the latest version of the STAIR ROVER is indeed able to descend stairs. It looks like the underside of the deck does receive a few scrapes, but skateboards are made to be abused, right?

Lai told Gizmag that his board has already received plenty of positive reactions from skaters and the press, and that several sports equipment companies have expressed an interest in it. He said that he definitely expects it to become commercially available in the near future. If you just have to see it now, however, the prototype is currently on display in London at the Royal College of Art’s Show RCA 2012.

Source: Po-Chih Lai via Dezeen

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
9 Comments

Impressive invention. I'd like to see it in action in a skate park as well.

A side comment: The impressively produced video is over long, with very short snaps of descending the stairs.

Gadgety
23rd June, 2012 @ 03:53 am PDT

Very cool idea indeed. I too would have preferred to see more with stairs instead of trying to be so "artsy" in presentation.

planehunter
23rd June, 2012 @ 12:06 pm PDT

It looks like it would only work well on shallow slope steps like in the movie. Also without a way to control your speed going down the stairs it could be very dangerous.

Michaelc
23rd June, 2012 @ 04:33 pm PDT

Um.. Is this for the skater that doesn't know how to olly and grind a rail? That has enough confidence to go down stairs? Fun experiment, doesn't seem at all practical.

ff
24th June, 2012 @ 12:00 pm PDT

Impressive in an academic away. But it's a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist.

When a skater comes to a few steps, s/he just ollies down them. When s/he comes to a lot of step s/he just dismounts, walks down and re-mounts. It's hardly a hassle.

I've been skating for over 30 years, and I've seen a load of alternatives come and go. This will be a useless board for ordinary riding. It can't be manualled, or ollied - it doesn't look like it will turn very well.

As a mechanical project, it's interesting. From a commercial perspective this is a disaster that will sell by the handful at best.

DoctorDee
25th June, 2012 @ 01:45 am PDT

love it. new boards makes new tricks. maybe a hi speed stair descent or something from parkour I dunno.

atutin
25th June, 2012 @ 02:12 am PDT

When the Gen X ers retire they will still be able to skateboard down the nursing home steps. What will they think of next.

Mike Ross
25th June, 2012 @ 04:34 am PDT

"Skateboards are definitely a part of the urban landscape, but you know what else is? Stairs. Generally, the two don’t go together – when skateboarders reach a set of stairs, they typically have to pick up their board and carry it"

LOL!!!

Have you ever watched a skate video?



Facebook User
25th June, 2012 @ 10:34 am PDT

If the deck was top mounted; Be handy for shifting furniture down small steps or heavy object in the workshop etc, shame it does not go up as well.

ELM
26th June, 2012 @ 02:52 am PDT
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