Is only going up in the lift getting you down? Not for much longer: ThyssenKrupp, the German steel and engineering company, has announced that it's building the next generation of lifts that will use magnetic levitation to travel up, down and side-to-side at speed in the buildings of the future.
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-rise and high-rise buildings — ideally at least 300m tall — the cabins run at 5m 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.
ThyssenKrupp hopes to have a prototype elevator running by the end of 2016. We can't wait to ride it. [Bloomberg]