Jakob Rønningen had no objections to going first when the stair walker AssiStep at the nursing home was ready for use. “It was nice and sturdy. I felt secure,” he said after going up and down the stairs once.
The entrepreneurs behind the AssiStep stair walker are Halvor Wold, Ingrid Lonar and Eirik Medbø, who came up with the idea as students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology(NTNU).
- “We started out in 2012 with some simple sketches. We found that the existing solution was for people to stop walking on stairs, and this was no good solution. And we know that walking stairs is good exercise. We imagined a ‘stair walker’, and after much testing, failing and making progress, we arrived at this design,” Ingrid Lonar could tell.
- “Simple, mechanical, and you have to do the stair walking yourself. All at your own pace. Move the handle, feel it lock in place and move your feet after. A solution that has received praise even from the fire department. The stair walker can be used when the power is out,” she explained.
First in Holmestrand
- “This is the first one in Holmestrand, there is one at the health facility in Re, and one in Sandefjord. There have been sold around 200 by now all over the country. Approximately 100 of these are for home use,” she added.
Along with Øyvind Andreassen of Hepro AS, she showed the stair walker to the nursing home staff and others of Holmestrand municipality, who were impressed by how simple it was to use, and how little room it required compared to a stair lift. Only 18 cm from the wall when the handle is folded in against the wall. A stair lift takes the entire width of the stairs, and is also on a completely different price tier.
- “This is great for rehabilitation, where stair training is very important for those who will keep living at home,” says Solfrid Nilsen, leader of Holmestrand municipality’s Welfare Technology project.
The three Trondheim civil engineers receive applause for their student project which turned into a company
The AssiStep stair walker is developed at NTNU in cooperation with the Norwegian Parkinson association.
“Our goal with the AssiStep has always been to get more people live an active life, independent of help,” says CTO Ingrid Lonar, adding that many people unfortunately are forced to move from home when the stairs get too difficult.
FACTS RELATED TO STAIRS:
- Every year, in Norway alone, around 50 people die from stair falls (source: Statistics Norway)
- 30,000 Norwegians require medical aid after stair falls (Source: Norwegian Institute of City and Regional Studies)
- 25% of those above age 65 feel unsafe when walking the stairs (source: Statistics Norway)
- Elderly people who manage to walk the stairs have a probably lower risk of falling during daily life. (Source: Age and Ageing nr. 37, 2008)