Turbolifts, Micro Environments, and Plastic Buildings
Planning structures that will adapt to imagination
By Rick Dickerson
Date Published: 5/1/2015


In November Thyssen-Krupp made industry news by announcing MULTI, the first magnetic levitation elevator for use in commercial buildings. The system will allow elevator cars to move both horizontally and vertically through a building. The company is building a prototype that will be available to the public in 2016.

When I first heard about it, images of the turbolift on the old Star Trek TV series whizzed through my mind. Like that fictional elevator, MULTI will take you right to the area or room you are headed to. 

However, MULTI doesn’t challenge the laws of gravity and physics. Instead, the manufacturers have innovated maglev into the place of cables, running the cars in a loop. This alone packs a significant wow factor if it works, which it should. They believe it will move 50 percent more people, with less weight and energy, and in about half the space of a conventional elevator.

Note that MULTI is intended for buildings of 980 feet or more in height, so we’re not likely to see one in Central Pennsylvania soon.

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