Student's safety ladder to help conquer the fear of heights

A student has redesigned the domestic ladder to make it feel safer and help people conquer their fear of heights.

Alex Ross
Camera icon
Alex Ross hopes people can use his redesigned ladder with increased confidence
Alex went to great lengths throughout his research.

Dr Matthew Watkins

A student has redesigned the domestic ladder to make it feel safer and help people conquer their fear of heights.

Nottingham Trent University undergraduate Alex Ross, who says he's had a "few close calls" while climbing ladders himself, wanted to design something which people could use with increased confidence.

So the 21-year-old – who is studying product design at the University's School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment - designed Climb Safe, a single stringer with a spider base which can only be erected at the safest angle.

"Health and safety doesn't cover domestic ladders, and people at home don't always know how to use them properly," said Alex, originally from Edgware in London.

"Research shows that one in ten people suffer from a fear of heights, so I wanted to find a way to help people believe in what they are climbing and to help make them feel safer.

"What I've designed is an original and viable product which will help people climb ladders at home more securely. What it's become is an extremely safe ladder. It has everything you need for stability."

The ladder – which is made from aluminium – has been designed as a single stringer in order to make it lightweight.

It is connected to the base by a joint which ensures that the ladder is erected at an angle of 75 degrees every time it is used.

The spider base features four legs which stretch out in opposite directions to reduce the risk of the ladder toppling over. The foot of each leg is made from non-slip moulded polyurethane.

The rungs on the ladder are covered with a non-slip coating and can be fitted with end caps to prevent people’s feet slipping off the edge.

A removable standoff is fitted to the top of the ladder to help spread the weight and improve grip.

Alex's design will now go on show for the University's Art and Design Degree Shows Festival, between 30 May and 7 June. The festival this year coincides with the celebration of the University's 170 years of art and design heritage.

Dr Matthew Watkins, Nottingham Trent University BSc Product Design course leader, who supervised the project, said: "Alex went to great lengths throughout his research to identify the difficulties that the general public face when using ladders, including an understanding of the fear of heights.

"This in-depth user centred research has informed and validated an excellent design solution to an everyday problem, which seeks to increase the users safety and confidence when using ladders."

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Chris Birkle, Press Officer, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 2310, or via email; or Dave Rogers, Head of Communications, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8782, or via email.

    Nottingham Trent University's Art and Design Degree Shows Festival will take place at the University's City site and will be open to the public between 30 May and 7 June. For more information visit the degree_show_festival.

    For more details about the University's 170 years celebrations, visit ntu170years.

Student's safety ladder to help conquer the fear of heights

Published on 5 June 2014
  • Category: Press office; Research

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