Researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University teamed up to build “spring loaded energy recycling stairs” that make walking up and down a lot easier for users. According to Georgia Tech, the device makes the entire process much easier on the knees and ankles than conventional stairs.
The spring-loaded stairs compress when someone comes down the stairs, saving energy otherwise dissipated through impact and braking forces at the ankle by 26 percent. When going up, the stairs give people a boost by releasing the stored energy, making it 37 percent easier on the knee than using conventional stairs. The low-power device can be placed on existing staircases and doesn’t have to be permanently installed.
Each stair is tethered by springs and equipped with pressure sensors. When a person walks downstairs, each step slowly sinks until it locks into place and is level with the next step, storing energy generated by the user. It stays that way until someone walks upstairs. (read more)