Traditionally, wheels and stairs are a tragic combination, what's akin to mixing oil and water. Looking to overturn this convention, researchers at the Chiba Institute of Technology have developed a robotic wheelchair that can actually climb over steps.
In addition to this, the wheelchairbot can line its wheels up, and extend stabilizers to the left and right, enabling it to turn a circle. This makes it easy to reverse, even in a narrow space. From CIT:
We were particular about using wheels, because this kind of vehicle will mostly move on ordinary paved surfaces. The most efficient way of getting around on paved surfaces is to use wheels, like a car. So, this robot mainly uses wheels, but the wheels can become legs.
For now, we're presenting this system and form as a concept, and the motion has mostly been worked out. So, we're at the stage where we can show this robot to the world. In the next phase, we'll get a variety of people to try it, so we can fine-tune the user experience.