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Retracting staircase

Only there when you need it
  [vote for,

The staircase takes up a significant area of the floor space of a house.

Minimalist living favours open uncluttered spaces, with objects being put away when not in use, so as to open up the space they would occupy if they were permanently fixed.

The retracting staircase satisfies both of these requirements.

A staircase user can at any one time only be resting their weight on between one and four treads, so the remainder of the treads are supurfluous.

Each tread is made in the form of a retracting blade-like structure which is encased in the wall. It slides longitudinally into its slot, or extends out to form a sturdy cantilevered tread quite strong enough to stand on.

The retraction and extension are powered by high speed motors so that the tread flicks out of the wall and back in with a satisfying "tcheunk" sound.

The default position of all treads is retracted, allowing full use of the floor space of the room.

Sensors are mounted on the wall and nearby.

When a human body part is detected slightly above the airspace where the tread would be if it were in its extended position, the motors are actuated and that individual tread shoots out from the wall, allowing the human user to place their foot (or other appendage) onto it.

When the human removes their foot (etc) from the extended tread the system waits for a short time (to check if the foot is goign to be returned) and then retracts the tread.

This means that a person can ascend the staircase, whilst only requirig the two or three (or possibly four) treads they are using to bear their weight, to be extended.

For ultimate cleanliness of interior design the ceiling panel can silently retract as their head is about to touch it.

pocmloc, Feb 02 2021

Retracting Spirals http://www.bpiutosc...r.com/en/Eclettica/
An ACTUAL retracting spiral staircase, not a vague concept like [kdf] linked... [neutrinos_shadow, Feb 02 2021]

Automatic Blow-Out Staircase of Excitement Automatic_20Blow-Ou...e_20of_20Excitement
A fantastic idea, such as only a truly great mind could conceive, but sadly, redundant with this one [hippo, Feb 03 2021]

Curled up bridge https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0aIl0bzyQD0
[xenzag, Feb 03 2021]


       What could possibly go wrong ... ? [+]
8th of 7, Feb 02 2021

       The assumption that you weren't using the space on the other side of the wall, that's what.
pertinax, Feb 02 2021

       The stairs could telescope sectionally, in three segments; for a 600mm tread, you'd only need maybe 250mm of depth inside the wall, for the retracted portions and the actuating mechanism.   

       The other advantage is that the vertical spacing can be arbitrary; small steps for children and the elderly, larger ones for adults ... <Evil chuclking/>   

       "Alexa, command override protocol Tango Five Zulu, turn the stairs off ..."   



8th of 7, Feb 02 2021

       // goign to // Sp: gonna   

       Excellent! [+]   

       Extra credit for correct usage of "tcheunk".
whatrock, Feb 02 2021

       Treads could be pivoted like the blade of a flick knife
pocmloc, Feb 02 2021

       Nice idea, but there are issues:
The area of floor that the stairs extend into needs to be kept clear anyway.
The stairs take up space on the "other" side of the wall when retracted (as per [pertinax] above).
Parts of the wall can't be used for anything else (hanging pictures etc).
Floor in the upper level needs to be kept clear anyway.
So basically, the majority of the required stairway volume needs to be empty at all times anyway, so you may as well just have an ordinary staircase (apart from the "cool" factor, of course...).
neutrinos_shadow, Feb 02 2021

       // pivoted like the blade of a flick knife //   

       Could they have razor-sharp edges, too ?
8th of 7, Feb 02 2021

       // The area of floor that the stairs extend into needs to be kept clear anyway. //   

       // Floor in the upper level needs to be kept clear anyway. //   

       Yes, but this could be in a hallway or a part of a room normally used for walking. On the upper floor over the stairwell there could also be a hallway. In this case, the retractable ceiling would be required.   

       Going up seems fairly straightforward to implement. If you walk along the lower hallway normally, nothing happens. If you lift your foot extra high as it passes over the location of the first step it would pop out, allowing you to go up. Going down, I guess if you paused with your foot in the air for half a second, the floor could open up, though there's more chance for injury in this case it it opened when not intended. I guess you could loose some of the design "simplicity" and add a button.   

       It seems like a very minimalist elevator would be much simpler and probably safer, assuming it had the same level of optically activated safety interlocks, but of course it wouldn't be nearly as cool.   

scad mientist, Feb 02 2021

       // safety interlocks //   

       <Frowns, points at door marked "EXIT"/>
8th of 7, Feb 02 2021

       Okay, so the step 4 steps up is not there for me to judge the distance. I put my foot in the wrong place and start to fall. Detecting that I'm no longer there the stair I was walking on retracts. As I fall forward the next ones extend, brutality forcing a length of wood a few inches into my cranium. Did I get that right? It's a bun either way, I just want to know how I'm going to die.
Voice, Feb 02 2021

       //Evil chuclking//   

       One of the lesser- known Aztec rulers, I presume.
pertinax, Feb 03 2021

       Actually a subsidiary Deity, a relative of Quetzovercoatl...
8th of 7, Feb 03 2021

       God of the Undersealworld, we presume?
8th of 7, Feb 03 2021

       Yes, it's a rebus. Quite a clever one, I will concede.   

       The most famous example of the genre is a postal address in Massachusetts, expressed thus:   

pertinax, Feb 03 2021

       Hmm, redundant with the linked idea, I think
hippo, Feb 03 2021

       See also Thomas Heatherwick's curl/uncurl bridge in link.
xenzag, Feb 03 2021

       Wood Massunderjohn?
Voice, Feb 03 2021

       Like Hampshire, Massachusetts has a town called "Andover".
pertinax, Feb 04 2021

       I demand a retraction!   

       All right; I've never been to Massachusetts so I could be wrong - that's just what I've read.
pertinax, Feb 04 2021

       // I've never been to Massachusetts //   

       Reason enough to count yourself amongst the favoured of the gods ...
8th of 7, Feb 04 2021

       Is it true that its named after all the dentures there?
pocmloc, Feb 04 2021

       Beautiful and slightly terrifying. The sensors to build this would be reasonably straightforward but not at all cheap. Air-bags to cover the floor in the event of a fall seems prudent. I wish some billionaire would hire an engineering firm to design and install one of these in lieu of buying an original Old Master painting for the entryway.
sninctown, Feb 04 2021

       // Air-bags to cover the floor in the event of a fall seems prudent. //   

       Brillant ... utterly brilliant ...   

       "Alexa, command override protocol Tango Five Zulu, turn the stairs off ..."   







       <Ominous silence/>   

       Or perhaps, "Ah, Mister Bond ... I've been expecting you ..."
8th of 7, Feb 04 2021


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