Levitating and Nanotube Lifts
Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corp have developed the world’s first elevators controlled by magnetic levitation available as early as 2008.Using maglev technology capable of suspending objects in mid-air through the combination of magnetic attraction and repulsion they promise quieter and more comfortable travel at up to 300m per-minute, some 700m per-minute slower however than conventional lifts. Personally I’d prefer to trust in Otis rather than Electromagnets.
Video of Superconducting Levitation
Maglev technology has already been used to develop high-speed trains. The only passenger-carrying maglev train in the world links Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, to the city center at speeds of 430 kilometers per hour.
While I’m on the subject of Lifts, NASA have shown an interest in Space Elevators. Check out the space elevator website which follows the progress of research into utilizing lifts as a transportation and utility systems for moving people, payloads, power, and gases between the surface of the Earth and space!
“Recent advances in technology, most notably the development of carbon nanotube composites, now appear to make building a space elevator feasible. Initial research reports on building the space elevator that draw upon these discoveries have now been completed. As proposed in these reports, the space elevator will consist of a carbon nanotube composite ribbon stretching some 62,000 miles from earth to space. The elevator will be anchored to an offshore sea platform near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, and to a small counterweight in space. Mechanical lifters (robotic elevator cars) will move up and down the ribbon, carrying such items as satellites, solar power systems, and eventually people into space. The Space Elevator is not a tower, or even an elevator shaft. It’s just the elevator cable, without even any big motors at the top to pull things up. Vehicles and their payloads have to pull themselves up the cable with their own motors and power.