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Van de Graaff Escalator 2.0

More of a lift, really [unrelated to 1.0]
  (+9, -1)(+9, -1)
(+9, -1)
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(I should mention beforehand that this is meant to be implemented in expert resorts and to be used by daredevils and the standard “extreme” skiers. That should clear up any discussion over whether you have to be suicidal to attempt using this thing.)

Well, I've gone skiing quite a few times, and I've noticed that the lifts build up quite a bit of static electricity. These lifts (or “escalators”, as my quirky friend insists on calling them, despite the confusion that always comes up) are also designed to cycle around on weak-looking (albeit very strong) wires. Attaching the seats to something that looks stronger could help reassure the people who have a fear of heights but are interested in skiing.

So here's the breakdown: Imagine a conveyor belt, sideways. This replaces the wires, although it will involve some costly upgrading. There are no seats, only special easy grip handles. Sounds sane and plausible, right? That's because the main point of this hasn't been mentioned yet.

At the top of the mountain, the belt, which will contain a chain of short, positive and conductive (but insulated) rods, goes into a giant metal orb, which collects the electrical energy. There will need to be some way to dehumidify the belt and the orb, or this will take a really long time. Also, the belt moves much faster than a lift should. Because of this, this lift will be classified as the express lift, for risk-takers and impatient people. It goes without saying that you have to let go before you touch the lethally-charged metal sphere, although all skiers should be wearing non-conductive materials. To prevent people injured by either the fast-moving rubber handles, the possible fall or the orb of death from suing, a contract must be signed before even approaching said lift.

This doesn't have a practical application outside of being incredibly cool. The orb could release a bolt of energy to a nearby metal pole, or it could work in tandem with a second lift, although those options seem too dangerous even for this idea's danger level. Instead, the electrostatic energy generated could be stored and donated or sold to institutes with an intrest in accelerated particles.

Shadow Phoenix, Oct 19 2008

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       awesome but why?
redpandainventor, Oct 20 2008
  

       + and why not?
xandram, Oct 20 2008
  

       //but why?//
You'm baint from round yer, be you? [+]
coprocephalous, Oct 20 2008
  
      
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