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Stair tricking skateboard

This skateboard concept lets you travel down stairs almost as smoothly as gliding down a hill. This seems to be the eighth iteration in [PoChih Lai's] attempts to add functionality to a board which will make it the ultimate ride for an urban outing. Check out the video after the break to see just how well he did.

We’ve seen hand carts that use six wheels to make stairs a breeze using a triad of wheels as a single-wheel replacement. This was actually the main concept early on in the design. But the drawback to this method is that the design takes up a lot of room and [PoChih] also made the deck much bulkier to keep you from getting a foot caught in the mechanism. The final design does away with the end-over-end concept and adopts a rocking mechanism. The board hangs from a bar which serves as the pivot between the two wheels. This way the wheels can absorb the brunt of the motions, and the base of the deck can slide across the fronts of the steps if needs be.

We were talking about this here at the Hackaday office and the point was made that this is like YT’s skateboard from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. Did you hear that it’s headed to a theater near you?

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Stair accent lights made from cheap LED strips

We really like [Geert's] take on accent lighting for his stairs. He built his own LED channels which mount under the bullnose of each step. The LED strips that he used are actually quite inexpensive. They are RGB versions, but the pixels are not individually addressable. This means that instead of having drivers integrated into the strip (usually those use SPI for color data) this strip just has a power rail and three ground rails for the colors. Ten meters of the strip cost him under forty dollars.

He did want to be able to address each step separately, as well as mix and match colors, so he designed the driver board seen above to use a set of TLC5940 LED drivers. These are controlled by the Arduino which handles color changing and animations. It will eventually include sensors to affect the LEDs as you walk up the stairs. Each strip is mounted in a piece of angle bracket, and they’re connected back to the driver board using telephone extension wire.

Treaded robot modified for stair climbing

[Mike Li] is showing of his stair climbing robot. It’s a bot that cruises around on a pair of tank treads, but some interesting modifications gave him the traction needed to ascend a flight of stairs without slipping backward.

The image above shows this process in great detail. You can see the unaltered treads leaving the top of the image. In the foreground, strips of rubber-backed rug add some sticking power to the otherwise smooth surface. To really stop the bot from slipping, segments of CAT5 cable have been screwed to the tread at regular intervals, holding the carpeting tightly in the process.

You can see in the video after the break the little robot has no problem with rough terrain. The design was inspired by the iRobot Packbot which has a set of treaded appendages sticking off the front end. These ensure that the vertical face of an obstacle, such as the beginnings of a staircase, can still be reached by the main set of treads.

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