Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Moderately-intelligent-waiter

Like a dumbwaiter, but for stairs
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Ever have to carry something heavy or delicate up the stairs? Like, you go out to get take-out lunch to eat at your desk, or coffee or whatever, and when you come back you need to haul it up a staircase. A total pain, and if you're not careful (and forgot to get a lid) you end up spilling or dropping it. Sure, you could use the elevator, but that would just be lazy.

So, this system should be fitted to all staircases, integrated into the handrail. At the bottom of the staircase there is a tray that folds up. You set whatever it is you're carrying on the tray, and then push it up the stairs along a track. A ratcheting mechanism keeps it from sliding backwards. When you get to the top, you remove your goods, and then fold the tray down. Folding the tray down causes the ratcheting mechanism to release, which causes the tray to slide down to the bottom.

What about going down, you ask? Not an issue. Nobody ever has to carry coffee down a flight of stairs. You always go downstairs to get it, then take it upstairs to drink it. That's just how it works. And if you really need to go downstairs to drink your coffee, take the elevator. At least now you'll have an excuse.

ytk, Oct 30 2015

Dumbwaiter game https://www.youtube...watch?v=btXrLcpXBg4
[pashute, Nov 04 2015]

[link]






       This would explain why most restaurants are flat and level.
travbm, Oct 30 2015
  

       I like it, but why can't it work going down, too? +
Just put it in reverse and have it take your trash down or bring a cup of coffee to the person who works in the basement office!
xandram, Nov 04 2015
  

       //which causes the tray to slide down to the bottom//
Neatly removing the hand of the person coming up the stairs behind you.
Probably better to be near the handrail, rather than integrated.
neutrinos_shadow, Nov 04 2015
  

       The track is on the underside of the handrail; when the tray is folded down it shouldn't protrude beyond the rail at all. No risk of undesired removal of body parts.
ytk, Nov 04 2015
  

       //I like it, but why can't it work going down, too?//   

       I can't figure out how you'd get the tray to the top of the stairs. The only way I can conceive of is a complicated funicular system with two tracks and trays. Seems sort of excessive for something so unnecessary in the first place.
ytk, Nov 04 2015
  

       Easy: The default position is at the top. If you need to take stuff down, it's there. To return it to the top, add a cord going over a pulley with a winch at the bottom. There's also a button or lever at the bottom that pulls another cord that releases the brake (not all the way, so it comes down slowly) so you can summon it to take stuff up, and when you're done taking stuff up, it'll be at the top again.   

       The hackerspace I'm a member of recently expanded, and part of this was moving all of the member storage upstairs. We're considering adding a diagonal dumbwaiter next to the stairs (because we have empty space there). It would work somewhat like this. Default position would likely be at the top, both for the reasons I already explained and because it would get in the way if left at the bottom.
notexactly, Nov 09 2015
  
      
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