Abstract

Here we show that novel, energy-recycling stairs reduce the amount of work required for humans to both ascend and descend stairs. Our low-power, interactive, and modular steps can be placed on existing staircases, storing energy during stair descent and returning that energy to the user during stair ascent. Energy is recycled through event-triggered latching and unlatching of passive springs without the use of powered actuators. When ascending the energy-recycling stairs, naive users generated 17.4 ± 6.9% less positive work with their leading legs compared to conventional stairs, with the knee joint positive work reduced by 37.7 ± 10.5%. Users also generated 21.9 ± 17.8% less negative work with their trailing legs during stair descent, with ankle joint negative work reduced by 26.0 ± 15.9%. Our low-power energy-recycling stairs have the potential to assist people with mobility impairments during stair negotiation on existing staircases.

Department(s)

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Comments

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Grant EFRI-1137229.

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1932-6203

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2017 Public Library of Science, All rights reserved.

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

PubMed ID

28700719

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