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Express Escalators

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(+7, -2)
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Since variable speed energy saving escalators are more and more common, why limit yourself to regular escalator speeds?

An energy saving escalator moves slowly until it senses someone near, then speeds up to regular speeds. I say once it senses this person is actually on the escalator, speed it up to many times regular speed. Then when it senses that you're nearing the end (or if it senses someone else is about to step on), slow back down to normal speed.

This can be done with something as simple as a couple of electric eyes (light on one side, sensor on the other), a larger motor, and a bit of programming.

Worldgineer, Aug 13 2008

Escalator Accident http://www.youtube....watch?v=MzRDWSYegNM
[jaksplat, Aug 14 2008]


       I get the point you are trying for, but I think this would scare the piss out of people. I once saw a picture of an escalator collapse and it still haunts me. If I was on an escalator and it sped up or slowed down, I would be off in a second, up on a handrail like a woman in a movie who sees a mouse.   

       Also I think that it would have everyone not holding the handrail falling like bowling pins.
MisterQED, Aug 13 2008

       I think both of those issues can be controlled by keeping the acceleration low.
Worldgineer, Aug 13 2008

       I'm scared also, but if I can wear a helmet you can count me in.
normzone, Aug 13 2008

       many escalators are in near constant use, so you'd rarely get a chance to get above speeds low enough to mount/dismount. Bun anyway, for the comedy value.   

       I think Isaac Asimov had a similar system in one of his novels: you had multiple parallel moving pavements around a city. The relative speeds between the pavements was low enough to just step from one to the other, but step up the hierarchy enough times and you could get onto really fast pavements. Nifty thought experiment. Bit expensive in terms of space and resources in practice I think.
conskeptical, Aug 14 2008

       //An energy saving escalator moves slowly until it senses someone near, then speeds up to regular speeds.//   

       Perhaps it is an evil escalator, and speeds up to some fantastic speed just as you get on. And if you successfully get on without being thrown on your head, it then slows to a crawl just as you pass the halfway point. If you try to climb the rest of the way, it reverses. You can never get off until a new passenger arrives to be tortured.
ldischler, Aug 14 2008

       It could be called the Eveil Escher Excalator.
CwP, Aug 15 2008

       To avoid scaring passengers, just put a strip of green boost chevrons along each side, at the base of the side wall or next to the handrail. When speeding up, light up the chevrons in sequence to make it clear that the acceleration is deliberate. They should be well-known enough from video games, and even if they're not, their meaning is clear from their appearance (which is why so many video games use them).
notexactly, Apr 21 2016

       I haven't seen it in an escalator, but the revolving door at one of the malls I frequent does the "slow while empty, speed up when some-one is using it" manoeuver. It's OK when you approach it in the "open" part of the cycle (slow, easy to enter), but it's a pain if you want to use it and it's going slowly in the "closed" part of the cycle. Luckily there's a couple of regular doors next to it for if you're in a hurry.
neutrinos_shadow, Apr 21 2016

       Curious why those were invented. They'd slowly exchange heat with the outdoors, making them far less energy efficient than regular ones. And if it encourages just a few people to use a door, then you circumvent the entire point (keeping that slug of warm/cold air from escaping the building every time a door is opened).   

       Luckily, with Express Elevators the only other option is the stairs. And that would save a bit of energy.
Worldgineer, May 02 2016


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