Watch: This Skateboard Lets You Ride Down Stairs With Unbelievable Ease

Now the only problem is all those "no skateboarding" signs.

Why do skateboarders grind on railings? Was it part of an evolution of the sport, from backyard pools to urban landscapes? Sure. Was it a ridiculous idea from a skateboarder who preferred to risk life and limb, sliding down a rail rather than face certain death taking the stairs on a skateboard, again? Probably.

Now, recent Royal College of Art graduate Po-Chih Lai has designed a skateboard that can cruise down stairs without a second thought. Called the Stair Rover, it’s the semi of skateboards, an 8-wheeled beast that’s quite literally "rocking" an aluminum Y-frame to transform stairs into a passive-propelling landscape.


"My idea is basically the same as surfers," Lai tells Co.Design. "They look for the hidden energy of nature, which is waves. Mine is looking for the hidden energy around us. Interestingly what I found is stairs, there are plenty of stairs hidden around our playground and habitat—the city."

Whereas some may see Lai’s clever skateboard as an overly simplified parallel to the automatic transmission in a suburban car, he sees his stairmaster as an extension of the extreme sport, turning "boundaries and restrictions into a positive and creative physical enquiry into the ever changing kinesis of the urban ecosystem." Skateboarding is an activity shaped as much by culture as it is hardware, but as a once-clandestine activity has gone mainstream, it will be interesting to see if the traditional hardware is reassessed to enable a new generation of bigger, crazier tricks (and plenty of commuter convenience along with them).

What could Tony Hawk do on a skateboard fitted with Segway-like intelligence and an F1 engineering crew? What if sensors were ensuring his board was always at the right angle when making contact with the pavement, allowing him to focus even more on wild aerial stunts? What if traction control could assist where his balance failed?

And what if—just what if—Lai’s skateboard could climb up the stairs, rather than just down them?

[Hat tip: Denzeen]

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32 Comments

  • Andrea M

    "What could Tony Hawk do on a skateboard fitted with Segway-like intelligence and an F1 engineering crew? What if sensors were ensuring his board was always at the right angle when making contact with the pavement, allowing him to focus even more on wild aerial stunts? What if traction control could assist where his balance failed?"

    ...What if American Soccer was a safe sport? JUST THINK how silly is the whole idea...

  • rpfeist

    boring video that hardly showed what the board is billed to do - go down stairs.  it seemed like this was a half baked idea and they could only show a few choice shots of the "pro" skater going down stairs as opposed to - who i'm assuming is - the designer.  weak 

  • guyslikeme

    they really did not show it going down very many stairs for as long as the video is... and what about different scale stairs, wider treads or steeper or less steep inclines... this one video did not hook me... to artsy, not enough meat.
     

  • Manuel

    I really think this project is a joke to generate discussion.

    Anjemoo: skateboards are part of our society today because of people hustling and wanting take their skateboarding to the next level time after time, that's why boards have evolved from the little piece of wood with roller skates nailed on them, not because a smart guy came up with a solution for your lack of skill. Boards are not meant to do the job for you, it is exactly why it is fun.

    I might be shortsighted on this, but I really can't see how this could be part of the evolution of the skateboard. Same thing as Tarantula Trucks. The point is: you could go downstairs with a normal longboard, it may depend a bit on the setup but I've ridden down stairs and seen it a bunch of times on video. This just looks like designer not researching properly. The solution for going down some stairs would've been invented a lot of time ago if it was actually "needed".

    If you're an "casual skater" cruising, for god's sake, pick up your board or go down the accessibility ramp. If you want a board that could handle larger obstacles, go get a mountainboard. And if you want society to evolve go read a book.

    Pretty cool photography on the video though.

  • Anjemoo

    Without designers /engineers experimenting the stake board wouldn't be part of our society today.The comments from so called skaters are extremely negative & short sighted if they want society to evolve!

  • Animal Chin

    I'm pretty sure EVERY skateboard goes down stairs with ease, if you know how to ride it! There are even videos of dogs doing this, so it's not that hard...

  • ERoman

    I don't think you've ever ridden a board down the stairs, the wheels get stuck and well it leads to a face-plant. 

  • skateordie

    "Why do skateboarders grind on railings? Was it part of an evolution of the sport, from backyard pools to urban landscapes?"

    No, they do it because it's fun.

    This idea will never catch on with anyone who considers themselves an actual skateboarder.

  • ERoman

    There are many casual skaters, if you notice on the board its more of a long-board than a skateboard, so it is really not for tricks.

  • John

    Nice idea. Unfortunately, only two shots of the board going downstairs. Misses the point...

  • God

    Too bad he spent his time trying to create a skateboard that goes down stairs instead of a wheelchair that can climb up and down stairs.  Now that would have been innovation worth supporting.  Reboot.

  • The Dark One

     Thank you for chiming in, Lord. Cheers for not making any more Mel Gibson  movies, btw.

  • armadillo

     It's called the ibot 4000 and has been around for many years now.  Designed by the inventor of the segway, it employs the use of gyroscopes to climb stairs, "stand up", etc.  Your basic argument is absurd.  Many of the greatest, most influential inventions were stumbled upon while the innovator was focused on something seemingly unrelated to the final outcome. 

    While not for the hardcore skater, this is a fun and interesting idea.  Loved the video. 

  • NotThatImpressed

    but any skilled boarder can already bomb a set of stairs on a standard double fish-tail. this just allows queer hipsters to bomb stairs too.

    would like to see this tackle an escalator 

  • Roygbiv

    Can't imagine any serious skater interested in this. The reason people do rail slides is because it's fun, not out of some practical necessity.