Po-Chih Lai's "Stair Rover" is meant to conquer the rugged streetscape of London.

Can the design of the simple skateboard be improved? Po-Chih Lai thinks so, although it took him seven different attempts before he settled on an eight-wheeled monster that "walks" down stairs.

Model No. 8, pictured above, is Lai's final whack at the perfect urban board. He calls his baby the "Stair Rover," and explains its genesis this way via e-mail:

"My idea is to utlise the hidden energy in the city, just like the surfers look for the hidden energy of nature, which is waves. What I found is quite interesting, there are plenty of stairs around, and that is the energy everywhere in our playground-city."

About to graduate from the Design Products program at the Royal College of Art, Lai says he wanted to help extreme-sports fans in London experience skateboarding a different way. His board is specifically meant to open up previously blocked arteries of the urban landscape: staircases that twist around or are otherwise unfriendly for skating down. He hopes this newfangled vehicle will help spawn a "hybrid sport" of stair-boarding. Better have your dental fillings in solid, because that activity sounds bone-jarringly rough.

Here's footage of the Stair Rover in action. The short film was shot by Juriaan Booij and takes place at the hip Barbican Centre arts venue:

Lai fabricated the Stair Rover with aluminum, maple wood, bamboo, polyurethane rubber and PVC. Those metal supports look like they'd be more suitable for bracing the frame of a Kawasaki crotch rocket:

Below are details on the other rover prototypes and the building process, with a few individual highlights. Model No. 2 is missing for some reason... it must've been a particularly frustrating design:

 

 

All images used with permission from Po-Chih Lai.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    A Micromobility Experiment in Pittsburgh Aims to Get People Out of Their Cars

    The Pittsburgh Micromobility Collective will create all-in-one mobility hubs near transit stops, to compete with Uber and Lyft and help commuters go car-free.

  2. a photo of a NYC bus
    Transportation

    Why the Bus Got So Bad, and How to Save It

    TransitCenter’s Steven Higashide has created a how-to guide to help city leaders and public transportation advocates save struggling bus systems.

  3. a photo of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in 2016.
    Transportation

    What Uber Did

    In his new book on the “Battle for Uber,” Mike Isaac chronicles the ruthless rise of the ride-hailing company and its founding CEO, Travis Kalanick.

  4. Perspective

    How Cities Address the Housing Crisis, and Why It’s Not Enough

    Local officials from across the U.S. are gathering to discuss ways to address the affordable housing crisis but, they say the federal government must do more.

  5. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

×