New elevator tech makes walking obsolete
A German industrial firm has decided that after more than a century and a half of use, the elevator just isn’t pulling its weight anymore. As a result, the firm is creating a prototype that will expand the number of directions an elevator can travel by two.
According to Discovery News, the German company ThyssenKrupp is working on new elevator tech that features “two-axis” movement. The hope is to revolutionize intra-building travel, and potentially do away with all that pesky “walking” nonsense once and for all.
ThyssenKrupp is promising that the elevators will also be cable-free. This is accomplished by redesigning traditional elevators to use magnets, meaning the basis for the tech would be similar to high-speed trains.
The first prototype will appear within a 240-meter tall tower in Rottweil, Germany, which is scheduled to open in 2016.
The idea is basically a turbolift from Star Trek. For those that aren’t fans of the show, the turbolift is essentially an elevator, but it’s magic and can go anywhere in the ship. As the franchise grew up and was forced to justify its science a bit, additional thought was put in to it and turbolifts became something slightly more real. In a few depictions they were shown to be spherical units that rolled on tracks – at least that’s how they were portrayed in the 2013 video game. That game was awful though, so it probably doesn’t count. This new tech isn’t far removed from that though.
The new elevators would move in a loop throughout the building, with multiple units moving in a cycle. In theory that will make elevator travel faster, and the new models can carry up to 50-percent more people. The shafts will also require about half the space of a standard elevator shaft.
These maglev elevators would require an entire new infrastructure though. They can only be fitted into new buildings that are designed specifically with them in mind, and ideally that building will be around 300-meters or more. It could possibly be retrofitted into existing building but not easily, and not in all buildings. Even the building were designed in a way to allow the shafts, the costs would be prohibitive.
Assuming the idea catches on and the prototypes are a success, expect to see these elevators appear in future buildings.