While the implementation of such a design is problematic (discussed more below), the idea is quite brilliant: it reduces the amount of space that needs to be dedicated to either stairs or ramp, letting the same footprint serve both needs.

In theory, a switch flips from ramp to step mode and back, allowing someone in a wheelchair to change it as needed. In practice, we see the first problem: if the ramp is kick-activated, it is not exactly wheelchair-friendly.

The larger issue, though, is one of slope – a typical wheelchair ramp needs to be much shallower than a normal staircase. Still, you could imagine extending the ramp out past the stairs to ease that slope, or evolve the design in different directions. As a starting point, it does raise good design questions, even if it doesn’t present all of the answers. Designed by¬†Chan Wen Jie.