Sure this feature is from April, but we were so happily bemused by it that when we discovered the video (finally), we thought “Gosh, anything to get more news about this guy out there.” Beijing retiree Li Rongbiao, who came face-to-face with the dismal state of China’s handicapped facilities, made a “walking chair” out of over 1,000 spare parts.
“One time, my wife and I were taking a walk. But she fell and broke her leg. It was so difficult for me to get her upstairs. That’s why I decided I should invent a ‘transportation tool’ for staircases,” he told New Tang Dynasty TV.
To do so, he taught himself computer design for 6 months and then spent the rest of the year constructing his dream chair – an electric wheelchair that also has the ability to climb up steps. After creating the first one, he threw all his pensions, savings and the money he made from selling his apartment into making more.
According to Ananova, his electric chair can climb nearly 3,000 steps (roughly 50 floors) with one charge and while the prototype requires somebody to help manouevre, the upcoming version will be able to brave the stairs alone. He’s begun selling his design to other people too – each chair is handmade (with seven workers from the area), takes about two-and-a-half days to finish and sells for about $1,500, much less than similar products in Germany or Japan.
Of course, those products have gone through actual standardized safety testing – something we found no mention of in any of the articles highlighting Li. But hey, rigorous safety testing is hardly in the spirit of shanzhai, is it? And besides, we’re assuming once Li actually DOES find a way to market this to the general public, that testing will get done… right?
Can’t see the above video? Time to whip out your credit card and buy yourself a VPN!