Humans are said to have evolved from an ancestor that once swung through the trees to get about, free to move through the environment in almost any direction. But today, in our modern high-rise environment, if you simply want to go up or down, it’s probably fair to say we’ve actually devolved. Stairs, elevators, and lifts all take up precious space within buildings, and they’re expensive, complicated, or require endless maintenance. Now a new human-powered system prototype dubbed Vertical Walking has been developed that requires just ten percent of the effort needed to climb stairs, but can easily move a person up a vast number of floors.
According to the designers of the Vertical Walking system, the future will see billions more people moving into urban areas where skyrocketing land prices will force apartment buildings to grow even taller. But elevators are power-hungry and take up precious space, and stairs are impractical for buildings more than a few stories high. Yet, with more buildings, less green space, and fewer opportunities to exercise, some form of regular physical movement will be essential. This is where the Vertical Walking system comes in.