Isn’t it easier to take the stairs?
Vycle is not replacing the stairs – stairs are necessary – and is not replacing the lift. In the same way that bicycles doesn’t replace legs or cars, Vycle has its own unique features that can make it be a desirable option in certain contexts.
Contrary to the movement we practice while going up the stairs, vycle works using cyclical movements that offers a non-impact exercise to the user. This could be beneficial for older personas that find very difficult to go up and down the stairs but they can actually cycle quite well – vycle can keep them active and mobile at home. Also, the lightweight, low square footage and flexible aspect of the system makes it suitable for retrofitting and temporary installations like in the use of scaffoldings or cranes as an alternative to ladders. Vycle is proposing a human-controlled system similar to current electric bikes but in vertical transportation.: a system that gives the user the option to ascend and descend deciding how much effort they want to put.
Why better than a ladder?
When using a ladder as well as navigating through them is often uncomfortable and may cause musculoskeletal disorders. Vycle proposes a system that transforms cyclical movements into vertical motion - Cyclical movements offers a non-impact and sustainable option to the user.
So how does it work?
Taking inspiration from bicycles, Vycle is a system powered by continuous cyclical movement.
The system is balanced with counterweights leaving the user body as the only weight to overcome. Using a gearing system similar to how bikes works the user can decide how much effort they want to put to ascend or descend. The prototype developed until now is just a proof of concept to test how does it feel to lift your own body weight. In the prototype, the gearing ratio is set to a 10% which means that a person that weight 70kg only needs to push 7kg. Although the working prototype is as fast as the stairs, the vision for vycle is to incorporate electrical assistance that could make the system faster and enjoyable accommodating different ages and abilities. It’s a personal lift appropriate the height between 2 and 6 floors where you decide how much effort you want to put and how much you want to be assisted.
What was the inspiration for vycle?
The inspiration of vycle comes from analysing current methods of vertical transportation: While stairs require a lot of effort for you to go up a lift is completely powered. Vycle sits in between, for the first time you can decide how much effort you put into ascending or descending.
Now, looking at how people move around in the city, we see people walking, biking or taking the car. If we compare these with how people move vertically, we can see that there is a correlation between people walking and taking the stairs, as well as with the car and the lift, but there is nothing like the bike in vertical transportation. This is where vycle comes in.
Is it going to go into production? Any companies interested in making it?
Although there has been some interest in the product, Vycle is an early concept and needs development. Potential routes to take it forward would be through an incubator or through a R&D of a company that may be interested in developing it. Hopefully in the future vycle can find a sweet spot in the market where could make an impact.
Is it safe?
Vycle is a concept on a very early stage - still needs a lot of development - and by any means the working prototype pretends to be a final product- this is just the result of a proof of concept. One of the very first steps will be including all the necessary safety mechanisms similar to the ones installed in lifts to make Vycle a safe and enjoyable option.