Stairs are some of the most severe barriers to access for people who use wheelchairs. The world is not as accessible as it should be – stairs are at nearly every corner, and elevators and ramps can be few and far between, especially in cities.

One of the most unique features of the iBOT® wheelchair is that it allows trained users to climb stairs on their own, or with the help of another person.

Stair Mode: The Run Down

Stair climbing works by rotating the clusters so that one set of wheels rotates over the other. The clusters rotate based on the position of the user’s center of gravity, which they control using the handrails, or an assistant controls with the assist handle.

Stair Mode allows users to climb up and down indoor and outdoor stairs. Since not everyone has the same stair climbing needs, the iBOT®’s software can be configured with any of the following settings:

  • Stair Off
  • Solo Stair Climbing Mode
  • Assisted Stair Climbing Mode

Important Notes on the iBOT®’s Stair Mode

To climb stairs solo, the stairs must have at least one railing. Users can climb with a railing on the right or left, or with a railing on each side. Users must grasp the rail with both hands and maintain their grip on the handrail. By shifting their body weight and posture, thereby changing their center of gravity, users control cluster rotation – this is the magic of the iBOT®’s iBalance technology.

A trained assistant can also climb the iBOT® up and down the stairs, if the user is unable to stair climb on their own, or if there are no appropriate railings present. In this scenario, the assistant uses the handle to tilt the seat, thereby shifting the user’s center of gravity and controlling the motion of the device.

Stair climbing with the iBOT® does not involve lifting the weight of the device, but rather working with and guiding the device up and down sets of stairs. The iBOT® does not climb on its own, and the joystick is not active in Stair Mode. The device relies on the user’s or the assistant’s input to initiate the movement, then slow and stop it.

Types of Stairs

The iBOT® can only climb straight flights of stairs; curved or spiral staircases will not work. During iBOT® training, users learn and practice on many different approved stair and landing sizes and shapes.

To climb successfully, the stair riser height must be within 5 to 8 inches, and the tread length must be within 10 to 17 inches.

approved stairs
unapproved stairs

Fun Fact:

iBOT® users have stair climbed all over the country, including all 192 steps at Red Rocks in Colorado, and at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Try the iBOT®!

Interested in taking a test drive of the iBOT®? Contact Mobius Mobility, 833-346-4268, to schedule your demo or check out our Where to Find Us page for events and expos.