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Star Trek-style home elevator could replace stairlifts

6:20am EDT - 02:19

A futuristic elevator that fits neatly into the corner of a room and moves between floors of a standard home could present a more attractive proposition than the traditional stairlift. Matthew Stock reports.

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It's an elevator, but not as we know it... But for Sally, from Hertfordshire in England, it's been a life-changer after problems with her knees made getting up stairs more difficult. Sally, and husband Berham, were already in the process of packing up and moving out of their home when a traditional stairlift proved impossible to install. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SALLY KAPADIA, LIFESTYLE LIFT OWNER, SITTING NEXT TO HUSBAND BEHRAM, SAYING: "Well, we've lived in this house for 40 years and I have problems with my knees and muscles, and the stairs in this house are very, very step and very narrow. So we needed to find either a bungalow or some means of getting me upstairs." The Terry Lifestyle Lift was the answer to their problems... a pod-like elevator that fits neatly into the corner of a room and ascends through a hole in the ceiling with no lift shaft required. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOHN MCSWEENEY, MARKETING AND EXPORT DIRECTOR OF TERRY LIFTS, SAYING: "You could describe it as a high-end chair lift. People don't want, in many cases, a chair-lift on their beautiful staircase... And unlike a stairlift which is a permanent feature on your staircase, the lift can be sent away when you don't need it - so it's never the elephant in the room." Terry Lifts, based in Cheshire, say it can be installed in just a few days. It has a host of industry leading safety features, including in-built sensors that mean you needn't worry if the family pet falls asleep underneath. SOUNDBITE) (English) JOHN MCSWEENEY, MARKETING AND EXPORT DIRECTOR OF TERRY LIFTS, SAYING: "You've got a safety bottom with micro-switches all over that safety bottom. So as soon as it comes in contact with any obstruction, it will immediately stop. And you have about 20 millimetres of pinch-point - so there's no mild crushing at all, it is very, very sensitive." The elevator's distinctive design has been likened to those in the TV series Star Trek. And the science fiction comparisons don't end there. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SALLY AND BEHRAM KAPADIA, LIFESTYLE LIFT OWNERS, SAYING: BEHRAM SAYS: "Well, all the neighbours think it looks like a TARDIS." (LAUGHTER) Interest in the lift is steadily gathering pace with Terry Lift's now exporting to countries including France, China and Australia. And be it on a starship or in a sitting-room, the makers hope their unique design will send sales through the roof.

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Star Trek-style home elevator could replace stairlifts

6:20am EDT - 02:19