Ever wonder why escalators have the same boring rectangular stairs and relatively straight look? Jack Levy from City University London certainly did and has come up with a radical design that not only makes them more exciting to ride on, but also, more cost-efficient.
Mr. Levy's 'Levytator' replaces the traditional bulky stairs with sleek-looking curved modules. Also, instead of the redundant stairs retracting under each other as is currently the case, these are placed next to each other and move in a continuous loop.
While the Mechanical Engineering professor's main motive for creating the new design was to give architects the freedom to dream-up cooler escalators (think museums with DNA-Helix shaped escalators), the Levytator has an additional edge compared to conventional escalators - It cuts energy costs in half!
Currently, escalators need two motors - one to carry passengers up, the other to power them down. Thanks to its circular loop, the Levytator requires only one motor to ferry them both up and down. And, it seems that the weight of passengers traveling up counterbalances those coming down, and helps cut the energy usage even further. The best part is, that his design has already been tested in the real world which means, that we may be cruising up and down some funky looking escalators, pretty soon.
Resources: news.discovery.com, gizmag.com