Layman's Lens

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The sheer curtains are there to take your focus off the walls and onto the stairs.

It's tough to get a sense of scale but the pod on top the simulator base is 6m by 6m.

StairLab is one of the 6 new labs launched today at Toronto Rehab. 3 of the new labs are self-contained pods like this one that can be lifted up and placed on a motion platform (essentially the base of a flight simulator). In this lab, we study how small changes in stair geometry can reduce risk of injury. We have the ability to carefully measure how people move on stairs and even shake the pod and staircase to cause participants to lose their balance while they are safely harnessed. This could allow us to test what the optimal shape and placement of handrails are to recover from a fall. We also work with people involved in injury forensics in litigation. These are the people who investigate accidents and testify in court. Some of these experts believe rates of stair related injury are on the rise in Canada because of a problem they call “top of flight defect“. They’ve noted this defect is often present in fatalities and other serious injuries from the top of a staircase. When stairs are built off-site and installed in a home, often there is a missing nosing at the top landing. This can result in the first step appearing larger than the second step resulting in an overstep on the second step. This post explains the problem more clearly.

It's kind of like a fun house once the room is tilted...all the walls are at funny angles.

The video above shows StairLab on the motion base being tilted into “stair mode”. The stairs were built at an angle to allow for a full 8 steps to fit in the pod. Also, the shallow angle of the stairs makes the job of the robotic harness system easier. Harness robot stays above you as you move up the stairs and because the height doesn’t change a lot as you move from the bottom to the top, the harness robot doesn’t have to deal with as much slack in the system. The small movements the simulator makes once in stair mode are the jolts used to put participants off-balance. these look small but they are ~20cm translations that make it very hard to stay on your feet.

In StairLab, we’ll be able to test issues like the top of flight defect to see how big a problem they really are.


Written by Tilak Dutta

November 15, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Posted in Stairs

Tagged with , , ,

2 Responses

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  1. […] at the event that you can see here. I put together a little explanation of how StairLab works here. For more info on these labs look here. LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); […]

  2. A lot of amazing development was done recently ..

    Hopfully to see that soon..


    Anas ALHunaihin

    November 16, 2011 at 8:30 am

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