Innovation of the week
A German industrial firm has created a cablefree elevator, “turning Roald Dahl’s fiction into fact,” said Bonnie Christian in Wired.co.uk. Much like the fictional Wonkavator in Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, ThyssenKrupp’s ropeless lift “can move vertically, side to side, and diagonally.” The Multi uses the same magnetic levitation technology employed by Japan’s bullet train, riding an electromagnetic field along a series of tracks inside the building. Sophisticated algorithms will eventually manage traffic, powering the lifts to transport passengers to their destination as quickly as possible. While the Multi will cost up to five times more than a standard elevator system, it could ultimately save money. Today’s cable elevators can rise to a maximum of only around 1,600 feet in one stretch, forcing architects to eat up valuable floor space by adding more shafts.