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July 15, 2017

Bicycle-inspired elevator uses pedal power to move you between floors

by John_A

Why it matters to you

Vycle’s elevator alternative could help you get ore exercise at the office.

Given the choice between using an elevator and the stairs, it’s pretty clear which the healthier option is. Elevators might be easier — and even pretty awesome at times — but climbing the stairs gives you a free workout, which contributes toward your daily physical exercise quota. That’s especially good if, as many of us do, you work in a sedentary office job.

However, 29-year-old London-based architect Elena Larriba has come up with a third option — and it’s a doozy!

Called Vycle, Larriba’s concept is a personal lift that uses cyclical body movements as a source of energy to control the rider’s ascension and descension. Essentially, it’s a wall-mounted bicycle which allow you pedal from one floor to another.

“Taking my architecture background as a source of inspiration, I started analyzing current methods of vertical transportation and identifying areas of opportunity,” Larriba told Digital Trends. “I saw a big spot between the stairs and [the elevator]. My passion in the field of human-machine interaction and sustainability started to shape and narrow down possible solutions. The concept of the project comes from comparing horizontal movement and vertical movement. When people move around in the city, they do it through walking, cycling, or taking the car. If we compare these with how people move vertically, we can see that there is a correlation between people walking and taking the stairs, as well as with the car and the lift, but there is nothing like the bike in vertical transportation.”


Larriba said that Vycle’s lightweight, low square footage design would make it suitable for retrofitting into existing office buildings. (Although we do have to question how you’d get around the problem of it being able to pick you up at whichever floor you needed it!)

Sadly, there are no plans to bring this to market just yet, though. The proof-of-concept model was created as part of Larriba’s Innovation Design Engineering masters program at London’s Royal College of Art (RCA), and is therefore more a tech demo than a real product. That’s not to say this couldn’t change, though.

“I would love to keep exploring applications and morphing Vycle to different needs,” she said. “Potential routes to take it forward would be through an incubator, or even through a company that may be interested in developing it. At the moment I am in conversation with some of them. Hopefully in the future Vycle can find a sweet spot in the market where it could make a positive impact.”

Hey, considering that Google employees once strung up a zip-line between offices, there’s got to be some kickass tech startup that would be all over this idea for their kitted-out HQ!

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