Minority Report meets energy saving escalators at City University
This year's various design prizes might as well just shut up shop now. The bookies should stop taking bets. The competition is closed. The Sceptic Tank has found the indisputable winner, and all other inventors, mad or otherwise, might defer their submissions until next year. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you The Levytator.
The world's first curvy escalator was dreamed up by Jack Levy, emeritus professor of mechanical engineering at City University London, who presented a paper today detailing his design at the UK's annual Symposium on Lift and Escalator Technologies (we know, we were gutted we couldn't get tickets too).
The design is difficult to describe (you can watch a YouTube video showing how it works), but it is basically a continuous loop of curved steps that connect the up escalator and the down escalator.
The net result is a curvy escalator which, according to mathematical modelling undertaken by Levy and his colleague Elena Shcherbakova, will slash energy use when compared to two standard up and down escalators.
Apparently, the design will cut energy consumption by around 20 per cent as standard, rising to 50 per cent when there are more people on the down side than the up side.
"The Levytator was primarily developed to give architects the ability to create escalators in any shape they want, but we've now shown that the design could significantly cut power consumption too," says Levy.
"As utility bills rise and more organisations strive for green accreditation for their premises, we hope the Levytator can play an important role in cutting energy use and the associated costs."
And so do we. City University London is now in talks with potential investors, escalator manufacturers, architects and property developers about building the first full-size Levytator, and is inviting interested parties to come forward.
Sadly, it might be a bit tricky to fit the design into the Sceptic Tank's first floor flat but, given our love of anything that looks like it was dreamed up in a Minority Report set-dressing meeting, we await the Levytator's elevation to commercial deployment with gathering excitement.
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