It’s a contradiction in terms to think about homes for “the elderly and disabled” being inaccessible by having steps to the front door. However, this is the case in Singapore’s old housing stock. The Singapore government has about 75,000 homes for people with disability which have steps to the entry. Apparently this is for privacy so that when people walk past they cannot see in the windows.
Students developed an automated wheelchair ramp, designed to make it easier to enter housing units. Currently, residents with wheelchairs use a wooden ramp that is very steep, and it requires a significant amount of force to push up.
The machine, which costs about $3,000 can also be used in other places such as shopping centres and bus stops. It should be noted that all new housing in Singapore has to meet the universal housing design regulations. Read more and see the video in the Straits Times article.
This very short video shows how the machine works. It also shows (unintendedly an unfortunately) how easily wheels can get stuck in a groove or small lip.