German Elevator Can Go Any Direction, Willy Wonka Style

Next stop? Three floors up — and two to the right.

By Kirk Miller

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12 July 2017

What comes up must come down. Or sideways. Or diagonal.

Somehow, we’re talking about elevators. And the 160-year-old invention just got its 2.0 reboot. ThyssenKrupp — a future-leaning German engineering firm that works with driverless cars and advanced energy tech — just developed the MULTI, a “rope-less horizontal-vertical” elevator that goes sideways (yes, just like Willy Wonka’s Wonkavator).

MULTI goes left, right, up, down and diagonally via magnetic levitation (the same tech featured in the Hyperloop) at about 1,000-14,000 feet per minute, which is fairly slow for a lift but hey, does your elevator move in impossible directions?

“It’s like a metro system inside a building,” notes a press release by ThyssenKrupp, who obviously have never worked with New York’s MTA.

Advantages? Without using cables — the elevators run on magnetized coils and through switches called exchangers — you’ve got freedom of movement. Which means no logjam while you’re waiting: the cars can even move around a slow-moving lift to an available door if needed. ThysseenKrupp suggests its elevators can achieve 50% higher transport capacity and 60% savings in building power while increasing the building’s usable area by up to 25%. That last part is important. Tall building design will no longer be dictated by rigid elevator shafts, which take up about 40 percent of a building’s core.

And forget waiting times: MULTI is already being installed in a Berlin residential tower. 

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