Put aside your doubts. After three years of work, ThyssenKrupp is testing the Multi (an elevator can travel sideways) in a German tower and finalizing the safety certification. This crazy contraption zooms up, down, left, right, and diagonally.
Multi ditches the cables that suspend conventional elevator cars in favor of magnetic levitation, the same technology used in high-speed trains and the proposed HyperLoop. Strong magnets on every Multi car work with a magnetized coil running along the elevator hoistway’s guide rails to make the cars float. Turning these coils on and off creates magnetic fields strong enough to pull the car in various directions.
“In past, the industry basically tried to compensate for taller buildings by running a faster car,” Bass says. Rather, Multi increases efficiency by increasing volume. Ditching cables lets ThyssenKrupp stack elevator cars at nearly every floor without overloading the system. When one car blocks another, it can move left or right out of the way. “You can manage a traffic grid like you would a subway,” CEO Patrick Bass says. “We can guarantee a cabin will be at that floor every 30 seconds.”
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