The very first stairlift was designed and put to use in 1920 by C.C Crispen. In fact, there’s even evidence to suggest that King Henry VIII used a stairlift! (Although this would have looked a lot different to the one’s we’ve grown accustomed to).
It’s safe to say that stairlifts have come a long way since Crispen’s design back in 1920. I mean, hasn’t everything? Technology has completely revolutionised the world we live in and stairlifts have evolved alongside it. What once was an old-fashioned rope and pulley system is now a piece of equipment powered by electricity that can take you from one floor to another (no matter how your stairs are shaped) with just the touch of a button.
Modern stairlifts don’t just come in one shape and style. There are straight stairlifts for simple staircases and curved stairlifts for stairs that have a curve in them. You can adjust your seat, control it wirelessly and your safety is guaranteed with the abundance of safety features fitted.
When King Henry VIII first used a similar system and Crispen created the first commercial stairlift, do you think they would have envisioned the modern designs we have today? The likely answer is no. But today, with the speed at which technology is growing, we can roughly envision what the future of stairlifts will look like.
So, what could future stairlifts look like? What features are they currently missing that could be added? Here are just a few ideas.
The Future of Stairlifts
- Carry multiple people – Currently, only one person can use a stairlift at a time. Could future stairlifts carry the weight of two people? Although this isn’t an essential and sought after function, it could be practical for some people. For example, those with disabilities who need someone to sit beside them for stability/health reasons.
- Added safety – Modern stairlifts are designed to be safe for users, but future stairlifts could provide even more protection. What if a child tried to use your stairlift whilst out of sight and seriously injured themselves on it? To prevent this from happening, future stairlifts could come with some form of passcode or recognition system so that only the intended user (or helper) can operate it.
- Wheelchair friendly – Wheelchair users who need to use a stairlift will likely have to rely on the help of someone else to use it. This limits their independence and may make them feel like a burden to their loved ones. Wouldn’t it be easier if the stairlift could carry them in their wheelchair? Perhaps instead of a fitted chair, there could be a small bay where their wheelchair can be wheeled into. They could then secure themselves in for safety, and simply wheel themselves out when they get to the top (or bottom).
- Stairlifts could be completely reinvented – Some stairlift companies are already revolutionising the modern stairlifts that we’ve grown accustomed to. Instead of the typical stairlift, designs are being produced that actually resembles a lift. This would look like an elevator without the need for a shaft. It could tackle a couple of the aforementioned issues, as wheelchair users could potentially use it, as could multiple people at one time.
Considering how much stairlifts have evolved in the last few decades, they’re only going to continue to advance. Will the future of stairlifts resemble any of the above concepts, or will they offer something completely different? All we can do is wait to see what the future brings!