#2500: ShaftStaff

Imagine a walking stick with a gyroscopic disc at the bottom end. As the user walks along, the stick stays reliably upright and thus allows them to lean on it without falling over.

The problem here is that spinning gyroscopic discs tend to be much too heavy for a walking stick user to lift (I’m ignoring attempts to raise a gyro by turning it around the body, which don’t help much here).

Today’s invention fixes this situation by exchanging a disk for a long shaft (red). This would be located, using several bearings, within an outer walking stick shape (black). The shaft would need to spin at enormous speed to have the same angular momentum as a heavy disk, but we are already building experimental machines capable of a million rpm.

A user would be able to walk about using this stick and when the rotation speed reduced, due to friction, they could expose the shaft end (like a ballpoint pen) and place the end into a shrouded spinner (pale blue).

These spinners would be located on the floor within a home, work or public environment and could be mains powered. Each spin-up might take a minute or two, after which the shaft would be withdrawn and walking could again be supported.

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