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Future Elevators Will Use Maglev to Go Up, Down—and Sideways

Illustration for article titled Future Elevators Will Use Maglev to Go Up, Down—and Sideways

Is only going up in the elevator getting you down? Not for much longer: ThyssenKrupp, the German steel and engineering company, has announced that it's building the next generation of elevators that will use magnetic levitation to travel up, down and side-to-side at speed in the buildings of the future.

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Maglev technology, used by some high-speed trains, uses large magnetic fields to keep the moving object from touching the tracks along which it runs. The result is reduced friction and high speeds, even with a relatively small driving force applied.

ThyssenKrupp has called the new system—known as MULTI—"the holy grail of the elevator industry." Designed for mid- and high-rise buildings—ideally at least 300 meters tall—the cabins run at 5 meters per second. That's not super fast, but the nature of the design allows them to run in a constant loop, meaning that passengers would only ever wait 15 to 30 seconds for another ride.

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ThyssenKrupp hopes to have a prototype elevator running by the end of 2016. We can't wait to ride it. [Bloomberg]

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DISCUSSION

lotzosushi
lotzosushi

Is there something that prevents the elevator from dropping to the bottom if the power suddenly goes out? :(