Wheelchair Elevators Gain Popularity Resurgence in the 21st Century

It is perhaps the understatement of the last millennium to say that technology has been a boon to people with disabilities. The wheelchair has been around since the Middle Ages, but recent technological advancements have taken us even beyond the joystick-driven electric wheelchairs so commonly seen to the cusp of powered exoskeletons that allows the paralyzed to walk again.

Even mundane technology that we all take for granted has made a huge difference to users of wheelchairs. Look, for example, at the elevator. This amazing invention allows people who use wheelchairs to navigate multi-floor structures like office buildings and shopping malls, which they might not otherwise be able to tackle.

Like wheelchairs, elevators have been around for a long time—not quite as long as the wheelchair, only since the 1800’s—and they’ve come a long way since they originally came on the scene. Now, in the new millennium, we are seeing elevators that are specifically designed to appeal to people who use wheelchairs.

Funicular Wheelchair Elevator

In South Korea, one of the most incredible designs for an elevator that has ever been devised is in use. This elevator, created just for wheelchair users, is inspired by funicular devices. Sure, there’s some question about just how safe it is, and time will tell on that matter, but if nothing else, it’s a brilliant use of space and opens up new avenues for attractive architecture that is also focused on people with mobility issues. Here’s a video demonstration:

Artist and Comedienne Cracks on Wheelchair Elevator Etiquette

Artist and comedienne Havannah Soy, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, runs a comedy web series entitled “The Wheelchair Girl.” On the series, she showcases many issues she has to confront in a wheelchair. She has no issues attacking any sensitive topic regarding wheelchair etiquette, in elevators and elsewhere. She tackles such topics as having your head at someone’s butt level or how much space able-bodied people take up in the elevator.  Her riff on elevators might just sound familiar:

Basement Stair Escavator Video

Here’s a video about how to make a special wheelchair lift for your home stairs. This one was designed for an L1 paraplegic, to help him navigate his basement stairs. The term “escavator” has been coined for the device as it appears to be a combination elevator/escalator. And to make things even better, it’s very inexpensive to put together! This particular device is perfect for those in need of a chairlift at home who don’t have the funds to have one installed—it works on just about any staircase, too! Watch the “escavator” in action!

Do you have any interesting elevator stories? Please share them with us!


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