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Vertiwalk Vertical Walking (vertiwalk.com)
886 points by hliyan 17 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 180 comments

In case anyone else was irritated by the inability to scrub through the auto-playing video, adding this CSS rule in your browser's dev tools should fix it:

    .vp-progress { display: block !important; }

http://www.rombout.design/verticalwalking.html Has some video of pictures of it working so you don't have to wait blindly for it.

This should be on top.

Thank you. The lab that developed this set the video to be only viewable when embedded on their site, and my privacy tools mean vimeo thinks the video isn't being loaded via their site.

Absolutely baffling that they don't allow it to be viewed directly on vimeo.

...Almost as baffling as a video that is several minutes long and doesn't communicate in the slightest how the thing works.

> Almost as baffling as a video that is several minutes long and doesn't communicate in the slightest how the thing works.

This right there. Why is this even here? It feels like I'm A/B testing a launch campaign and I got the version where you need to figure shit out on your own

ying and yang of HN right here in this exchange haha!

Richard: I think it’s yin

Ron: What like yin and Yan?

Richard: No like yin and yang

Ron: No it’s ying and Yang they’re opposites

By the power of wordplay, pedants unite!

Eats shoots and leaves!

I miss that show.

Another also: right and left keys worked pretty well

It's infuriating, I can't rewatch a part I missed or skip ahead? And there's no volume control? I can't believe designers still are removing critical functionality to make it "cleaner".

Everyone knows that when you skin the video element, oops I err mean, craft a custom video player, the first thing you simply must do is hide the default controls.

Otherwise how will people know it's a custom video player

You can double tap the left side of the video to skip back 10 seconds at a time, and double tap the right side to skip forward

I can't, it doesn't work on desktop.

Try left and right arrow keys

Just tap harder.

right arrow key works on desktop. Didn't try left arrow.

And if you "pinch to zoom", it adds extra content!

Agreed, and particularly ironic in a video promoting an accessibility product. Like, what?

One actually useful function of the macbook touch bar is that it gives you an always-on scrubber.

Seriously! I didn't realise how much I used this feature because I've found myself missing it on my 2021 MBP multiple times :(

I had a 2016 MBP for a while and never noticed it once. Interesting how we all get set in particular set of usage patterns. I might have liked it more if I'd ever even noticed that. Maybe it wasn't something that was as exposed in 2016?

It's a Safari-only feature, so it's possible you never noticed it if you used Chrome

Thanks. Strange. I did use safari quite a bit (still do - better battery life) but still don't remember it.

Realisation: you could do this with any modern touchpad.

Realisation 2: you could trap scroll events and implement the whole thing in-browser.

...hmmmm, interesting...

Is that actually true for all videos?

Lots of sites that refuse to use standard video embedding, and my intuition says those would block the scrubber.

I've never seen it not work. It even works for embedded audio, like alert beeps. I'm sure YouTube had some way to stop you using it on ads, but I block those anyway.


Makes me want to dig in and reverse engineer it

Its so stupid to hide this and and inhibit people to understand what this is all about.

Given that the video and product are about an assistive technology, even moreso.

Ain't marketing hostility grand?

you can use arrow keys

Very, very interesting idea since this is probably easy to retrofit to houses that don't have room for elevators.

But I think the video does a poor job of marketing the product. Too much "storytelling", they spend too much time "laying pipe" and the payoff is marred by "artistic" shots where clarity would serve better.

And you can kind of understand how poorly the video is edited when the top comment is about the video not being scrub'able in that web page.

Also I wonder what happens when a moving part fails and they get stuck with nobody at home ... seems like all it would take is a rat to chew on that cord for a catastrophic failure.

I think that people who would need something like this would also be at risk of falling when just walking around. There are no shortages of devices that allow someone to call for help if they've fallen. And as for a rat chewing through a cord, the cords could be made from a material that rats don't find tasty, or the device could be made with cables rather than cords.

With the cost of assisted-living being high and getting higher all the time, anything that helps people live in their own homes longer would be a big help.

This is the Automate car debate all over again.

Society is so risk adverse today that they do not want to allow anything that is not perfectly safe for 1000% of all situations that anyone can ever think of.

This device that would make people lives better will likely be bogged down in 1000's of "safety" regulations around 1:1,000,000 chance events of "what if a rat chews on the cord , while at the same time a bird lands on the power cable that kills the power, while at the same time someone hits a utility pole taking out the phones.... Clearly this product is unsafe"....

On the contrary, I'd argue most people who would need this are just far better off moving to a single story residence.

I live with an 87 year old, and every dang thing except clear open floor is a big risk. We don't need contraptions, we just needed a first floor accessible bathroom.

When you are early 50's and you have MS, I don't think the same scenario applies. This isn't a solution for people who can't do most things, it's a solution for people who can almost do everything but have been disabled in some way.

It used to be that the only solution would be a powered elevator system, but that was only because we had no alternative.

That's like saying, "why do people even hear their house when they could just purchase a second home in the tropics instead?"

It's not always feasible to buy a new house to solve a problem.

We did not buy a new house. We did a renovation which is likely cheaper than this one.

This is the second HN thread I'm reading today where somebody's response to an article is "this is not a solution for me personally, so therefore it's not a good idea." Seems like a strange way to interpret information.

It is an anecdote, but it's also arguably a relevant point of: The cost of having someone able to live on one floor even with renovations is likely cheaper and safer than installing a novel transportation system.

I think elderly folks or disabled would very strongly prefer to stay where they are in the home they know and love rather than move. If that means adding contraptions, most of them will do so if they have the means

If they're competing against a stairlift, there's a lot more that can go wrong with a stairlift than this. A power outage is much more likely than a rat chewing through a cord.

I can't watch the video since Vimeo is blocked in my country, so I searched YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whk2o98zlpc

My questions (because the YouTube video doesn't show it):

1. What happens if the "chair" is at the opposite end? E.g. you're downstairs and want to go up but the "chair" is upstairs.

2. Is the step gap / velocity adjustable?

Fair points. For 1, I’d think this would be for use with one person so it would always be “with” them on the floor where they are. But It would be interesting to know if it would disengage to go down or up if needed (though you’d likely need help).

I know the video said she could go up but down down steps, but I’d think she’d need to go up and down on the device.

Fun side story - I once rode a stair chair in my sisters house half way, got bored, got off and walked the rest of the way up the steps to her basement. The stair chair only charged when at either end station (the designers hadn’t planned for it to stop in the middle I guess), so the battery died. It was hundreds of dollars to fix (either new battery or repair tech) and didn’t have a neutral, so it stayed half way up the steps until they got around to taking it out.

1. I think you call an able bodied relative?

2. Looks like it. I think it's just a racheting system, so I think there are infinite "lock points"

No idea if they do it, but I imagine you could pull the whole thing up pretty easily, even easier with some type of winch.

Incredible to see such a new device in a space where there has been little real invention in 100 years (since the elevator/lift).

I'm interested in the building code implications of this. I assume you can't replace a staircase with this due to fire egress requirements, and at the top you have to have some sort of complex gate (notably not shown in the video) to prevent people from falling off.

I don't see it as a replacement for stairs, it's too impractical for general use. The only use case seems to be for what their demo video shows, people with limited mobility.

It's also great for? Library, Mezzanine, Archive... stairs take up space, you might even use this for going down mines, wells...what other use cases?

Space requirements are very different to stairs or other lifts.

If you had very limited space and no mobility issues there's a very cheap solution that has existed probably for millennia.

a helicopter?

I think he's talking about a ladder.

Rope with hook. You can even use that when visiting friends.

Maybe staying downstairs?

I think he means you could pay someone to go upstairs for you

is this marketed to the same people that need an electric chair because otherwise they can't get up?

If you've been around a loved one who is at risk of a fall on stairs, or exhausted and weary from stairs due to age or disease, this apparatus's appeal is immediately clear.

When my mom was dying from brain cancer, her final days of mobility were an incredible strain for everyone. This would have made life a lot easier. If she had a seizure, at least she would be seated. If she got tired, taking a break wouldn't mean potentially falling and getting hurt.

Yea, this is a very cool apparatus! When my 80 y/o grandmother had a stroke she went from walking 3+ miles a day to barely being able to walk around the block. She still had the drive to use her muscles as she could but she lived in a three-story house and the stairs were terrifying (though we were lucky enough to have a lot of family that could help out)… something like this would have done wonders for her both physically and mentally.

Yeah. Stairs are scary. My able bodied middle aged partner fainted halfway down the stairs, and damn, you know, uh, you don’t forget something like that, even though she only mildly fractured her spine and just was in a lot of pain but “fine”

Keep in mind that in the Netherlands, where this business is located, the government will pay to install a stairwell elevator in your home when you are no longer able to use them yourself. This product seems very niche in comparison.

This resembles ascending a rope using prusiks, which is a lot of fun if you haven't tried it. Great to see a variation the helps people with limited mobility to get around unassisted.

I’ve heard of prusiks and hearing about it again made me go down this rabbit hole of friction hitches. Fascinating! https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_friction_hitch_knots

Didn't know what prusiks were — had to look it up.

The video for the Vertiwalk looks to me more like standing and sitting in order to ascend.

In standing the seat climbs up a bit to follow your bum, when sitting the floor climbs up a bit to raise your legs into a seated position.

Descending is a bit challenging for my brain to understand.

You do the same thing with prusiks to ascend a rope. Here's an example of a practical application, getting out a crevasse when climbing glaciers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px_m3qzHYTA

In an alpine scenario you'd descend by rappelling. I doubt folks in a home want to setup a munter hitch or similar though. :)

I hope I never have to use this. Knowing myself, I'd typo the knot and fall to my death.

This is how it’s taught in intro mountaineering courses. In the real world experienced alpinists carry a lightweight ascender, like a Micro Traction or similar, that can also be used for other tasks like hauling or fall protection for simul-leading.

Is that essentially a one way rachet? All you need to climb easily is prevention of regress and maybe some mechanical advantage, right?

It is a bit more complex. Climbing means falling. The 'ratchet' needs to work under shock loads. And wet/ice ropes radically change the friction numbers. There is a reason why climbers, experienced ones, know and use a great many different tricks for accending and decending ropes. A "big wall" climber can make a belay device out of almost anything, or even nothing.

like your hip!

“The leader must not fall.”

Aid climbing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aid_climbing It's using techniques like that to go up rock walls instead of free climbing the rock holds.


I see. I tried to watch one video but they spent most of the time explaining how to create the rope/knots. I had assumed you eventually resorted to your arm strength to ratchet up the line. It does look like standing to ascend.

The overdubbing in this video is creepy, like these auto-generated voiceover videos. Why show peoples faces over completely different narration?

...because they didn't narrate in English?

Subtitles are a thing

There's also a mechanical version of a prusik called an "ascender." That's what I think this thing basically is.

> Descending is a bit challenging for my brain to understand.

You would typically descend by rappelling, but it is possible to descend using two prussiks:

1. weight prussik B / unweight prussik A

2. slide prussik A down

3. weight prussik A / unwieght prussik B

4. slide prussik B down

5. repeat

I've never seen this done with two prussiks, but a similar sort of thing is done with two ascenders when rope soloing (e.g., to practice a single move over and over without re-rigging each time).

Haha! I though the same thing. I remember watching a video of an amputee ascending up El Cap using a similar set up only with lots of pull-ups! That and less of a Danish modern design aesthetic!

> Danish modern design aesthetic!


Correct, I should really proof read my comments more closely.

You can also do this by wrapping the rope around your foot. As you hoist up, let the rope around your foot go loose, then stand on your foot to go up again.

Yup, "vertical walking" is about as close to an intuitive description of ascending a rope as you can get... clever idea and apt name :)

Looking for more information, I couldn't find any 'About' page on the website, came across this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqZJvRWQW5k from 5 years ago.

Same name and a Netherlands connection. SAme company?

The website vertiwalk.com was registered in 2016, around the date of this video. Did this come to market? It certainly looks useful.

It looks like the same company, and that looks like the same person too

Much better video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whk2o98zlpc

Literally worthless hero video on the linked site.

That requires a lot of upper body strength, which isn’t common amongst people who would tend to need assistive technology in getting upstairs.

Moreover, it doesn’t have a reset mechanism, in case you’ve used it and gone upstairs, and then someone else needs to use it.

It also requires carving a vertical shaft into your house, so that you can place the equipment.

People should ask Zack about the system he installed for his wife: https://youtu.be/aqMZfQODJZo

Cool product, but Assistep seems like a simpler solution for the same problem https://assistep.com/

I think they solve different problems. It doesn’t seem to me like the woman in the video would’ve been able to get upstairs as quickly or even at all, with the assistep. Especially moving upstairs with it seems very dangerous if there is a chance that your feet don’t do what you want them to.

Side note: “upstairs” is a great word that shows how ingrained stairs are in our lives as a means to move up or down. The Vertiwalk people have really thought outside of the box. Very cool.

Part of the issue of the woman in the video is that her left side isn't working well due to MS, while her legs/feet are working pretty fine. The assistep does not seem to solve her problem, and also seems like it would still be risky to use.

Now, that thing looks good, easier to maintain and cheaper. And there seems to be bigger potential adaptability. Something along the line of modular extensions for special disabilities.

Thank you.

This seems too unpowered to be the best option in places with reliable electric power, and for places without reliable electric power, this looks too complex to be reliably repaired without a service infrastructure. And if you have that, you probably have reliable electric power. In short, it looks like a solution looking for a problem.

as the website itself points out one of the explicit purposes is to keep people moving and exercising. Keeping people mobile (like the MS affected woman in the clip) is a great idea.

One of the worst things for people who are already impaired is to be overly sedentary because it accelerates function loss. It doesn't surprise me at all that this is coming out of the Netherlands by the way, a country that has a strong culture of keeping people healthy and active.

yes, the Netherlands is a beacon of human-scale and human-oriented urban development (https://www.youtube.com/c/NotJustBikes documents this really well) and this invention fits in nicely with that perspective.

This is probably an order of magnitude less expensive to install than anything that requires power. Also a lot of people might not have as reliable power as they think (see Austin last winter).

If you can use something less complex with fewer requirements that’s usually better. Do the simplest thing that solves the problem.

If it's cheaper than the other alternatives then it has a place.

It probably isn't though. My mother in law's stairlift was installed in a couple of hours along the normal stairs. There was no building work to create a shaft needed. It was cheap.

Reengineer this mechanism to run along inclined rails.

If cantilevering from rails on one side is impractical, make it detach from the opposite rail at the top/bottom and swing out of the way.

This is key - they didn't have to do construction and make a shaft with the chairlift. That'll put the prices up.

The requirements for space (a column of free area 80cm by 80cm) are so small that I don't even think they make elevators that small.

You don't have 80cm between normal floor joists so installation in a regular house could be complex and expensive. If you are designing a multistory new build specifically for the elderly leaving a space for a solution like this to be installed/uninstalled in the future could be added to building standards.

sure, I'm just saying that a elevator normally takes up much more space and is therefore more expensive to start with.

I think Vertiwalk might be a solution for people who want to exercise. But if the main issue is to travel between floors, I think installing your own mini elevator might be a better solution. It doesn't take much more space, but it's fast and can carry the wheel chair with you:


Elevators of any kind start at the price of a mid-price car and quickly spiral in to the hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on certifications and local ordinances. San Francisco has seismic sensor/seismic stop requirements on top of regular elevators, for example. There is a reason why almost no homes have elevators despite the technology being over a century old.

Beyond the cost issue mentioned by others, the exercise element that you mention is maybe more important than you think - older folk often fare better if they can stay active, and this might be a subtle way to provide that. Also there's the physical size - 80cm x 80cm - retrofitting an elevator into a small property has some serious space demands.

>older folk often fare better if they can stay active

I can directly vouch for that, in an anecdotal way. My mother, in her last months, fought through immense pain to do her daily activities. After a four day stay in the hospital for a heart-related issue, she was never able to walk unassisted again.

Or a stairlift.


Should be around five to ten thousand Dollar. Or you lease one for the rest of your life for about 50-100$ per month. You do the math.

The electric stair climber wheelchairs are unlikely to be a competitor because of their price. But still some believe in them.



But than again, people like do believe in many things.

An average stairwell is not quite wide enough to accommodate a stairlift, so I don’t think it’s a great general solution. You also still have the issue of transferring in and out of the chair, which can be an issue for some people. I bought a house on the premise that I could install a chairlift if needed … and had to sell the house a few years later when it turned out that the stairwell really wasn’t wide enough for it. (The chair would’ve been majorly in the way of the able-bodied people who also needed the stairs.) Admittedly, I should have done better due diligence.

It depends on the stairlift model, there are very compact versions, the kind with two or three pipes as guide take some 15-20 cm of the width of the stairs, and usually (not always) the chair/seat (which is foldable) can be "diverted" laterally.

About the 80 cm space required by this Vertiwalk thingy, it is roughly what a mini-elevator would need.

There is a (specific) pneumatic mini-lift that is 75 cm diameter:


Of course this is not suited for a wheel chair, the passenger must be standing, you need 1,30/1,40 m to be wheelchair accessible.

I can imagine this is vastly more affordable than a mini elevator?

Probably, but it'll be vastly too expensive for most folks. I imagine the construction costs are greater than devices that use the stairwell due to design and anyone that lives in a rental or otherwise cannot do the construction are out of luck.

In the Netherlands I believe the government will pay to install assistive devices.

I can see the use of this for neurological disease, but far and away the most common reason for a stairlift is frailty (or sarcopenia, to be more precise) along with other musculoskeletal conditions like osteoarthritis. Generally in sarcopenia you lose much more quadriceps strength, such that you find it difficult to stand up out of a chair, which is precisely the motion of how this is propelled. I'd therefore find this difficult to justify.

Secondly, stairlifts work because they are retrofitted into people's homes. This would require quite considerable changes to fit, and possibly loss of an upstairs room to make it work.

I agree with you about the target customer group.

It looks like it would only take up a corner of a room though.

Sure, but its the corner of two rooms on two floors. Depending on what your house looks like, that's quite an undertaking to fit, it's destructive to the house, and doesn't replace your need for stairs.

This reminds me a lot of a video of a retired man that uses his new free time moving large objects just by leveraging gravity. I can't find it right now but I think that there's a potential there for new ways movement just like the vertiwalk.

Perhaps you are thinking of Wally Wallington? A retired carpenter who produced some videos on moving Stonehenge sized blocks?


Thanks for the link, here’s a good quick video showing the basic principle of moving objects via balance: https://youtu.be/9NTm2PZ04iA

Tangentially this made me think of a video I saw on the bbc about container sized houses that expand and build them selves using counter levers https://youtu.be/phJNZRr8Qoo

That was a great read and reminded me of the Coral Castle. I wish there were similar video of Ed moving those coral blocks around.


Yeah, that's him.

You talking about the guy who moves the large stones by balancing them and pushing them around like that? I think I know what you're talking about.

I love this idea, particularly empowering people to move without feeling like they need electrical assistance.

If this is to become a widespread product, I think it needs to address two linked issues: (a) the product appears to be tuned to the specific weight of an individual, so that the counterweights/springs are neutral in use. Changing between individuals (or changing weight should the individual gain/lose weight) should be easy to do and hopefully transparent. (b) the product can't be accessed if it is on a different floor. Without the weight of a user, if unlocked, it would skyrocket upwards. I don't want to lock into the paradigms of an elevator, but the user needs to be able to access the product even if another user moved it.

Unfortunately, the only thought I have to solve these issues is to electrify it, or perhaps a clever hydraulic system. In any case, I think with batteries, it need not consume power from the grid.

While electric or hydraulic would be the easy way to make it move on its own when it's on the wrong floor, but not the only way. I'm sure that a system with a rope, pulley, and latching could be used to move it up or down just fine, albeit a bit more slowly. For moving from the higher to the lower level, one could design a setup so it just ratchets itself down with gravity, just clicking down a few cm at a time instead of just releasing and falling down, and this could also serve as a bit of a safe/speedy descent mode if the user can't do the whole motion one day. For ascending, just releasing the catch and pulling up on a pully/winch with a ratcheting mechanism would get it up there fine.

I really like these designers' ethos of not using electricity, and it'd be best to keep that intact as capabilities are added.

I think it currently stores energy in a spring, hence helping the user go up and recovering energy on the way down.

I was just suggesting that if the energy can be stored in a battery or hydraulic accumulator, it's easier to change the "counterweight" force. In both cases, I think it can be done without any net assistance from the electrical grid.

In small houses I have always thought that stairs take up so much space for something which is used a couple of times a day. I have always thought a vertical solution would be better. This isn’t that solution for a variety of reasons. It is nice to see innovation in this area though.

I wonder if a faster solution for more able-bodied people would be, instead of having a platform for sitting and a platform for standing, you could have two small platforms, one for each foot.

It’d be essentially like walking up stairs, but on the spot.

Maybe a ladder?

Haha, okay good point, what I proposed is pretty much an overly complex ladder isn’t it. In my defence, unlike a ladder it would allow you to stand straight up and - as the other comment mentioned - use your arms for other things.

I thought the same as the comment you are replying to, because having your hands free is quite a big deal. I practice parkour, and have zero problems with ladders from a mobility perspective, but they are not practical because you can't carry things up and down easily. Also, what if someone else comes for a visit? They better be ready to climb!

You can bring things up with a backpack. But yeah, it's less convenient than stairs, it looks worse and it is less inviting. That's why people like stairs. I'm not sure if the advertised product is that much better, though. It seems extremely slow and clunky.

> a couple of times a day

I'm sure I use the stairs a lot more than a couple of times a day.

It's of those technologies so obvious, I don't understand why it's new. Often that signals genius or my ignorance:

Why now? Often the answer is, another tech's development enabled this one. Is that the case? They say here only:

> Vertical Walking is a new system to move yourself between floors in a building. By exploiting the potential of the human body and materials, only a fraction of effort is required, compared to taking stairs. No external energy is needed.

Maybe they use a capacitor? When going down, brakes store energy that supplements muscle power when going up? If that's the design, why not do it 20 or 40 years ago?

Perhaps it replaces stairs in constrained footprints, like dense urban housing, where stairs consume high proportions of space.

Did you watch the video? I get it's annoying not being able to scrub, but (one minute into the video) you can see that it's a simple system.

I did watch it. I don't know what you mean about scrubbing it - I didn't mention that.

> you can see that it's a simple system

It looks simple to operate, but if you mean it's simple to design or construct, what do you see?

Simplest way to store energy for ascent is a counterweight, similar to existing lifts. That rope can also be used as an emergency stop.

Why would anyone ever start a company building a product that helps people?? This is lame. There's so much more money to be made harvesting user data, or raking in dumb VC money with fake promises.

These dudes actually have to deliver a product.. lol.

I couldn't see the counter-weight. A counter-weight matched to the sole user (able-bodied take the stairs) would make a huge difference to the muscular effort involved in getting up and down.

This seems to be about halving the strength requirement because you can use both legs on every step, while also eliminating the balance and coordination requirements of climbing and descending stairs. Maybe that is all that is needed if some-one has had a stroke and falls just short of being able to use stairs. But I don't see it buying much time with a progressive condition.

I think there must be a counter-weight because they say the ascent is assisted but also that it uses no electricity. Counter-weight must be hidden or something.

Eighty centimeters is 31.5 inches, so a little over 2.5 feet. That's fairly compact.

Taking the stairs can be awful when you are impaired and falling down stairs just adds new injuries to your problems.

This looks like a simple and elegant solution to a very real problem that affects lots of people's lives. But I can't help but think that in addition to the obvious upside of giving people a lot of autonomy, there's a significant downside here that should not be ignored. The flip side of making basic life activities easier is that if a person gets used to it, it can be pretty easy to slip into the complacency of relying on the device and actually never regain full normal function. I wonder if it would be feasible to augment that system with a leverage/resistance control that could be gradually changed. From my cursory look at the video it looks like there's some kind of mechanical leverage system in place (or at least there could be). Then a rehab schedule could start someone on, say, a 2x force multiplier and then gradually dial that back to 1x, and perhaps eventually < 1x which would then start to function as a strengthening / resistance training regimen.

I imagine this kind of graduated assistance/resistance feature would probably increase cost, complexity, and maintenance a meaningful amount. Question is, how much? Perhaps it might be worth it?

I don't think "this is a dangerous idea because people might need it to function" is a great take.

I had a roommate who was exceedingly stylish in an alternative sort of way. He once won a prohibition-era costume contest just dressed like he always does. He later suffered a smattering of strokes, during his recovery we got him a cane.

He thought the cane was such a cool accessory that we had to have a sort of intervention: Dude, you're in your 20's, don't give up on walking without a cane just because you think your cane makes you look distinguished.

So yeah, it's a real thing, but I think it's more of something to be aware of while you're using the product rather than a critique of the product: It's a crutch, crutches come with disclaimers.

You can’t compare a hipster wanting to flash a cane with a senior citizen giving up going up and down stairs in pain because a painless alternative exists.

I mean the person in the video has MS and is presumably never going to get back the function she has lost in her left side. She was unable to go downstairs unassisted before this device. She's not training for strength, she just needs to be able to access her whole house.

Reading between the lines, you seem to think people with mobility issues are lazy. “Just focus on your rehab and you’ll be walking again in no time! Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!”

I can assure you that no amount of resistance training will undo the affects of very old age or multiple sclerosis.

Would be interested in seeing how one would create the shaft required at home, as a DIY project.

get to the dang point... i wanted to see what it was but the video kept showing stuff that has nothing to do with what the topic, i gave up and left.

I wonder if there any zoning rules in many parts of the world that prevent adoption of this. Also what would it end up costing (has to be less than an elevator). But I love the idea that it is a super simple solution to those with disabilities and looks like an easy install.

If the user has a medical emergency while between floors and is unable to continue using this device themselves, will it be easy/safe for responders to get them down?

So scrollable video = I'm out in 5' seconds.

This is an awesome idea. I wonder if it could be extended slightly as an alternative to stairs in small spaces.

Looks like they reinvented the paternoster except made it manually operated by use of one’s glutes and only one person can ride at a time.


I think I'd hate to have to rescue someone from a Vertiwalk when they're midway between floors and having a medical emergency.

I'm sure there's an accommodation for this, maybe a belay system somewhere, but I didn't spot one.

There is another page with a bit more information and more pictures: https://www.rombout.design/verticalwalking.html

Squatting while climbing up does not sound fun to me. I think just providing something like geared pulley with 1:20 ratio will work and is much simpler. Just pull down the chain with bit of force and it will lift you up slowly.

Can old people do this? I think my Mom and Dad would be terrified of this.

Your Mom would be surprisingly accepting of the idea, but yeah, you’re right about your Dad.

Wouldn't it make sense to call this the "verti-sit"

Unless I am missing something, it is basically the same theory as ascending a rope (typically climbing) but a really cool application

It has the feeling of a demo project although maybe revalidation centers could perhaps use them.

Horrible landing page, poorly sized and video controls are bad.

Doesn't pass the BLUF test. If I can't figure the product out in five seconds, I'm leaving.


I looked it up on YouTube, it's an interesting concept. I feel that direct vertical is probably more of a pain to renovate and maintain than a staircase in traditional housing. Curious to see what happens.

What's the Breeches and Leather Uniform Fanclub got to do with it? :-)

Five seconds is rather impatient, and this notion that everything has to be a "product" which we immediately must know everything about makes me distinctly uncomfortable. Like, we're absolutely rushing through life. The video itself is maybe a couple of minutes long at most and does explain how it works, who it's for, and some of the backstory behind it.

this seems cool...

I hope it is reliable mechanically. It is nice that no electricity is required.

I wonder if they could make an electric assist upgrade for people who get it installed when they are capable of using it and later become less capable.

I was at the Venice Biennale but I missed this! Did anyone see it?

Where you there the same year this thing was?

Good point. Looks like it was 2016

Really curious why this made front page. I see nothing here revolutionary, just a crude solution with a lot of problems.

I have two people in my family who would benefit from this kind of product, and I don't see they using our anytime soon

Any way to carry small objects while ascending?


Totally agree. Could be cantilevered from rails on one side or detach from an opposite rail at top/bottom of the run and swing out of the way.

What I really like about their idea is, the central point of that thing is the training effect for still existing bodily ressources.

But I think they need to expand their advised market from former owners of treadmill desks on HN and their aging parents to a broader healthcare audience.


It's fundamentally different from an exoskeleton support system because it's a fixture of the building itself. It's a public utility, not a private suit.

> I don't mean to be rude, but this is the type and tone of questions I sometimes get paid to ask.

If other people pay you to be rude to them, that's between you and them. But that doesn't mean rudeness is welcome in all contexts, and this site is one where it isn't.

As far as the pitch, it seems to me that the video is the pitch. I'm sure if you were actually in a position to fund their work they'd be happy to talk it through with you in more detail. To me this system looks a lot less expensive than an exoskeleton, and is also much closer to practical realization.

BKK Mobil Oil is a German public health insurance provider, rewalk an exoskeleton system.


So it's exoskeletons just around the corner. And they can be carried around, so haven't to be build into that corner. You may do your own cost comparisons for funding purposes considering the wider market for exoskeleton systems in logistics, construction, etc. So this is just one example, there are a lot more different exoskeleton systems available.

Now I just have to look up, whether there are already studies, that tell me about probable health-promoting physiotherapeutic effects.

Ah, there is one from 2018:

Robotic exoskeletons: The current pros and cons


Of course you more often need upper limb or back support systems, they are much cheaper:


So, there you go.

To strain the metaphor.

I can't help but think about what happens when the poor ladies arm strength starts to diminish from MS and she is left with the whole installation rigged into her home.

This device is operated by shifting the weight back and forth between your feet and the seat, not by pulling with the arms.

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