British Company Designs and Builds Staircases That Transform Into Wheelchair Lifts

When you’re at the bar with fellow creatives, ideas for inventions can flow. After four IPAs you think you’re da Vinci. But few of us ever see these brew-borne ideas to fruition.

UK-based engineer Charlie Lyons, however, actually did. Years ago Lyons was at a pub with a pal. Said pal’s wife was in a wheelchair, and the difficulties of navigating an urban environment in one were recounted. Lyons cooked up a crazy idea for an invention and built it to see if it would work.

It did. That was back in the mid-’90s, and since that time Lyons’ company, Sesame Access, has been building these:

Here’s how they look in action:

The company has built and installed over 100 such systems, primarily at institutions (universities, museums, government buildings) around the UK. There are limitations to the approach; you can see by the cutaways above how much space and infrastructure are required, and the presumed high cost is what limits the customer base to institutions. But building a business that has been around for 35 years and provides a useful service, all based on an idea borne in a pub, is a damn sight better than most of us have done.

See you folks at the bar tonight?