Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Viva los semi-panaderos!

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Lift/elevator 'freefall' button

  (+48, -2)(+48, -2)(+48, -2)
(+48, -2)
  [vote for,

A button which would allow the lift (US: elevator) to free-fall when a descent of more than 50 floors is selected, to allow the occupants an exciting moment of experiencing zero-G. Controlled decelaration then causes you to float gently back to the floor of the lift.
hippo, Jun 13 2008

something to think about http://en.wikipedia...Love_in_an_Elevator
[n81641, Jun 13 2008]

Breaking Elevator News! http://www.kvbc.com...story.asp?S=8533411
The elevator came to rest on "the fourteenth floor". Eerie, isn't it? [Amos Kito, Jun 21 2008]

http://www.youtube....watch?v=Z42cGD1CXes Would be something like this. [wkoestner, May 29 2009]

Vomit Comet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vomit_Comet
[imho, May 31 2009]


       Make the button discreet, and you can play nasty practical jokes on visitors. [+]
Srimech, Jun 13 2008

       Plus it would be fast. Because I am in a hurry!
bungston, Jun 13 2008

       Must have! [+]   

       It could also work going up too, couldn't it?   

       Hit the Penthouse-button/freefall combo to experience joint crushing g-force, followed by a freefall to the top floor. No deccelaration needed.   

       In either mode, I'd have to bring a cat for extra entertainment.
TIB, Jun 14 2008

       can't vote -1 but am too wet to try this.
po, Jun 14 2008

       [TIB] - would that work? - I think you'd need to control the deceleration of the lift car really carefully but it would be fun...
hippo, Jun 15 2008

       Um, this idea is whimsical and kinda "cool", but ridiculously impractical. Big Fishbone.   

       What if in the middle of this freefall descent somone on a floor directly below the speeding elevator presses the down call button? The elevator would either crush its occupants trying to stop in time, or more likley be forced to ignore the call, resulting on longer wait times, reduced overall efficiency, and more unhappy riders. I'd be pretty pissed to press the elevtor button, and then hear the thing wooshing by me and not stop, just because the people already inside wanted a joyride.   

       And then of course the biggest issue with this idea is that no elevator manufacturer or building constructor would be willing to open themselves to the kind of legal liability that such a mode of transport would create.   

       Besides the liability issue, the braking system, guiderails, and structure of the elevator cab itself would need to be made beefier to accomodate this kind of operation. Who would pay for this? How would the building's owners see a return on investment for this thing?? Like I said, cool idea in theory, but fishbone because it ain't never gonna happen.
ServoMan314, Jun 15 2008

       //somone on a floor directly below the speeding elevator presses the down call button?//
[ServoMan314], this must be an express elevator during the freefall, bypassing the other floors. You didn't think there'd be a dangerous idea around here, did you?!

       The occupants wear protective equipment. Children, pets, as well as briefcases, personal items, wheelchairs, bags and boxes are not allowed. It's only one of several elevators in the building designed for this purpose, with special power generators to the equipment and computer systems. All such elevators are inspected, lubed, and tested several times a day. Trained ride operators and maintenance team members are posted on various floors, and in constant communication. It's an expensive trip, after a wait in line on floors 52 and above (pick a floor and who knows, it may be your turn this time!). It's only running this way during a few daylight hours.   

       When someone presses “floor-minus-50”, we wait to see if someone else presses an intermediate floor. If not, we begin the payment process, and sign the waivers. We don suits and helmets, and a limited number of people (who have been through the training sessions) are selected from all qualified persons on the elevator, per the limits to the number of people who can be on the ride at a time. Then we climb in with an experienced employee. The elevator shaft is cleared, all other floors are locked out, and the ride begins!   

       At the bottom, the medical team checks us out, we complete the paperwork and turn in the suits, while the janitorial crew begins cleaning the interior of the ride. Then it’s sent back up, picking up ordinary riders as it goes. And the whole process starts over.
Amos Kito, Jun 15 2008

       Needs an elasticated floor and ceiling to complete the experience. +
xenzag, Jun 15 2008

       [Amos] has got the organisational aspects of this about right. As far as the technical stuff goes, I don't think there's anything in lift mechanisms which would make free-fall need extra engineering, because (for safety reasons) they're currently so over-engineered.
Lift trivia: I think the only time all the cables for a lift have been severed and it's fallen down a lift shaft was when an aeroplane flew into the Empire State Building. Lift mechanisms are so good though that everyone in the lift was fine.
hippo, Jun 16 2008

       I don't think an ordinary elevator system would quite do the business. This is because the elevator is suspended only, and can only freefall. Unfortunately it has wind resistance in the shaft, whereas Granny in the car has no wind (ahem..) and therefore falls more quickly than the elevator can.   

       However, to compensate for this a big pump can be used to partially evacuate the lower part of the shaft, and the rate of fall can be regulated by the winching system as normal.   

       This would be a great ride, and I can see office staff on the first floor going home via the 50th.
I wonder what antics the bottom-photocopier crowd would think up? +

       //can't vote -1 but am too wet to try this.// [Po], that's an intriguing comment. More detail, please?
Ling, Jun 16 2008

       If you don't want to freefall in a stuffy box with a bunch of strangers, there's another option -- and it can be used in addition to the "Lift free-fall button"!   

       When the elevator is at the bottom floor, open the top floor doors, and chuck me into the elevator shaft. Just like in the movies, except have massive fans and vents near the bottom, to form a long wind tunnel. All I have to do is avoid contact with the walls and cables, and I'm fine.
Amos Kito, Jun 16 2008

       Well - in theory it would be OK to leap into an empty lift shaft. You'd reach terminal velocity pretty quickly which is - let's say this is 100mph. If you then land on top of a lift travelling (down) at 99mph you'll be fine, and the lift can then decelerate gradually.
hippo, Jun 16 2008

       Ahh yes but the closing speed would be 1mph. Meaning that to reach the lift in time for a safe landing, you would have to jump pretty soon after it let go. And with the lift moving the air out of the way, what's stopping you from going faster than 100mph?
BLSTIC, Jun 17 2008

       This is classic.   

kuupuuluu, Jun 22 2008


       If everything my grandmother's told me is true (and i don't see why it wouldn't be), then you wouldn't be "floating", 'cos as i recall, if you're in a falling elevator, you're supposed to jump just before you hit the bottom.   

       Can you explain to me how you would jump if you weren't still on the floor?   

       stupid ![+]
ericscottf, May 29 2009

       Jumping just before a plummeting lift hits the bottom of the shaft wouldn't save you - even if you were able to time your jump that accurately. Also it would never happen as automatic braking systems cut in way before that - and anyway, there are big buffers at the bottom of the shaft.

If the lift was in free-fall (and not subject to too much air resistance) then you would float, because you'd be in free-fall as well.
hippo, May 30 2009

       Sunday amusement rides in weekday office skyscrapers? Count me in!
BunsenHoneydew, May 31 2009

       Freaking genius. I'd ride all day.
elhigh, Jun 01 2009

       Umm, howabout a face-tracking system, so the floor could open under the person who pushed the button. That would seem to fill all the criteria and avoid risk to the other passengers.   

       Actually I think it's a cool idea. Liven up a dull day at the office.   

       I’m afraid this idea would be more difficult to implement than it appears. Elevators have counterweights. While the elevator moves down, the counterweight moves up. To achieve free-fall, the elevator would have to be disconnected from its counterweight. This would leave both the elevator and the counterweight at the bottom of their shafts (assuming the free-fall started at the top of the building and ended at the bottom). You’d then have to raise the elevator to the top again (or whatever distance the free-fall covered) without the benefit of a counterweight. This would take a lot more energy, and a more powerful motor, than is normally used.
Jim Bob of Merriam Park, Nov 27 2009

       //Um, this idea is whimsical and kinda "cool", but ridiculously impractical. Big Fishbone. //   

       Since when has impracticality been cause for a fishbone around here? I'm giving it a bun just for the impracticality.
oxen crossing, Nov 30 2009

       I think this is a great idea for really tall buildings. Usually they take elevators full of tourists to the top floor and back, rarely stopping on another floor. The fast trip down would make the system more efficient.   

       Safety gear is not required; the elevator will be tuned to slowly decrease to 0g and increase to 1g so that nobody hits the ceiling or falls to the floor.
DIYMatt, Nov 30 2009

       Need smooth brakes, no counterweights.
Automobile braking expertise could prove useful for it.
Inyuki, Aug 15 2010

       It should be glass and on the outside of the building.   

       If there are 2 of them, and they're linked, they can counter each other weight wise. One going up and one going down. For the first 3rd of the down trip there would be no weight, then linearly bring the deaceleration up to 2G between then and the second third. The last third is all at 2G. Going up, you'd experiance 2G, followed by a linear change to 0G and then weightless to the top.   

       The lift should perhaps have sprinklers to wash out the sick. [+]
saedi, Aug 16 2010


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle