Future Lifts Will Use Maglev to Go Up, Down and Sideways

By Jamie Condliffe on at

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, harnesses 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 MULTI system "the holy grail of the elevator industry". Designed for mid- and high-rise buildings 9ideally at least 300 metres tall) the cabins run at five metres 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 lift running by the end of 2016. We can't wait to ride it. [Bloomberg]