Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Single Stair Escalator

Move only the steps that are needed, when they are needed.
  [vote for,

A conventional escalator uses an endless chain of stair steps that then move upside down, in the opposite direction, underneath. Instead, this escalator of individually moving steps would mean less components taking up less space and using less energy, leading to lower costs for operation and maintenance.

When unused, the escalator would resemble a ramp or slide, with the stairs rotated down and only the stair nearest a potential rider rotated up in the horizontal position. A light beam would be interrupted when a rider steps onto the stair which starts moving. The cross section of each step is similar to an existing escalator step, but it is made up almost entirely of vertical splines that match the grooves of the next step. When the moving step reaches the next, the latter step rotates up and continues to carry the load without interruption, while the first step rotates down and returns to its original position. See schematic for clarification.

Light beams will determine if "more" steps should be activated for additional riders, suitcases, strollers, etc. When fully loaded, half (every other) of the escalator’s stairs would be moving riders, and the other half rotated down, returning to meet approaching, loaded stairs. Upon loss of main power, a backup function would cause all the steps rotate to the horizontal position.

FarmerJohn, Aug 30 2003

(??) schematic, going up http://www.geocitie...nnie/escalator.html
[FarmerJohn, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

escalator facts http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escalator
There was probably an interesting reaction to the newfangled invention. [FarmerJohn, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) For granny [bris] http://www.stannah.com/home/index.html
[silverstormer, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Or if you want to get REALLY compicated http://www.halfbake...0Helix_20Escalators
Worth a Churn [gnomethang, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       nice, scarey but nice.
po, Aug 30 2003

       Brilliant +. One small step for FJ........
lintkeeper2, Aug 30 2003

       ...One giant leap for...
DeathNinja, Aug 30 2003

       Makes it very difficult to walk up/down when you're in a hurry, though.   

       Note to all escalator users: Stand on the right. Walk on the left. That's all I have to say about that.
Cedar Park, Aug 30 2003

       Me no understand. Individually moving steps requiring less parts than a conveyor belt of steps? Can you just stand there (on the right) and make it to the top?
grip, Aug 30 2003

       Well, you have half as many steps, taking up half the space as a conventional escalator. They don't all have to move, to transport just a few riders.   

       Think of floating forward, high on the hands of a rock concert audience. Each hand only supports you a certain distance before another takes over.
FarmerJohn, Aug 31 2003

       You are 72 and have bad knees, or you have heavy bags or a baby in a buggy. You don’t have to climb. The steps smoothly lift you, standing still, to the next floor.
FarmerJohn, Aug 31 2003

       //What happens to that step?// It catapults you about a foot into the air. The next step flips up and receives you, dampening your landing, of course. Riders are advised not to carry hot drinks.
silverstormer, Aug 31 2003

       Your smooth ride would be the same as any escalator – no climbing/descending necessary. As per the color-coded schematic, the yellow step raises you about one foot diagonally until it comes flush with the blue step. At the same time the blue step rotates up and through the yellow step (splines through grooves) and continues lifting you another foot. The yellow step rotates down and travels back to its original position to wait for the next passenger.
FarmerJohn, Aug 31 2003

       You're almost there. Instead of having all the steps (for example 40) moving round and round, you have from two to 20 steps, in sequence, moving backwards and forwards one foot each.
FarmerJohn, Aug 31 2003

       This has all the benefits of a regular escalator except that, as FJ stated, the only steps that need to move are the ones holding people. The benefit seems clear to me - not sure why people are having trouble with it.   

       Another excellent one, FJ.
waugsqueke, Aug 31 2003

       Could you run up it?   

       As for the illustration, this may be one time where a perspective view could help show how the stair treads interweave when passing through one another.
bristolz, Aug 31 2003

       As UnaBubba says. Try placing a ruler on the straight fingers of your upturned, left hand. Slide the fingers of your right hand, palm up, over the palm of the left hand, between its fingers and under the ruler. Lift and repeat with the left hand.   

       The curved track was shown to illustrate how the steps would rotate. The green color was a pedagogic attempt to show the blend of yellow and blue steps.   

       Running should not be attempted. I doubt that the steps could open in time and it might be hard to see where to place the feet on the “slide”. For the same reason, falling forward would be gentler than on a baked escalator, since a smooth instead of pointy surface would be first encountered. No change to the moving handrails.
FarmerJohn, Sep 01 2003

       I consider not being able to walk/run up it a feature. I'm a stander and I find walkers/runners disruptive and pushy. They should take the stairs.
waugsqueke, Sep 01 2003

       <writing> waugsqueke is a "stander." </writing>   

       Well, Mr. John, can't say as I completely grasp the concept, but if it makes a funny whirring or whistling noise, then I'll vote for it.
k_sra, Sep 01 2003

       I like that an escalator is assistive rather than passive and that you can choose to add to the effort by climbing or not.
bristolz, Sep 01 2003

       I did not say you could not walk.
I did not say those words you talk.
I did not do that here or there.
I did not do that anywhere.
On single stairs, one can have fun.
Just be bewares, and do not run.
I do not like your nose askew.
I do not like you black and blue.
FarmerJohn, Sep 01 2003

       I do not understand why others do not.
On the drawing I see stairs meshed in slots.
I’ll ride the stairs up at a leisurely pace.
Enjoy it I will, without hurting my face.
Shz, Sep 01 2003

       For my next idea... 'single file escalators'.... mwaahahhaha....   

       (Actually, they're baked, and I love 'em.)
waugsqueke, Sep 01 2003

       Moreso than a moving stair,
I'd rather have a moving chair.
bristolz, Sep 01 2003

       Couldn't get my brain around till about half way down when it all of a sudden sorted itself out in my head and the picture in my head started to move.

Damn you [FarmerJohn] why can you not have one idea I don't like?
kaz, Sep 01 2003

       + This would be great fun to watch, but I'm a walker/runner. It seems like it would be of interest to architects as the profile of the escalator could be much thinner.   

       <non-contributory tangent> Seems like there's a lot of wasted motion in a conventional escalator. The whole return trip when the stairs are upside down moving back to the other end seems unnecessary.   

       The "up" and "down" escalators are often side by side. Instead of having the individual treads flip over and do nothing productive while going back to the other end, I wonder if they could just remain upright, traverse a semi-circular track under the floor and make their return journey on the adjacent escalator going the opposite direction. </tangent>
half, Sep 01 2003


       Call it a [half] track.
bristolz, Sep 02 2003

       I almost completely agree that this will accomplish all stated goals except I don't believe the costs for maintenance will be reduced. Now, instead of one ungainly mechanism, you have an ungainly mechanism for each step. And how is the power distributed to each step? Continuous chain, like a normal escalator? No, each has to move independently. Clutches? More complications. Individual motors at each step? Seems less efficient. These are my only complaints. This being the halfbakery, I forgive you, but not quite a bun's worth- yet. +/- for now.
oxen crossing, Sep 02 2003

       [bristolz]: "I'd rather have a moving chair"

Perhaps you should give Stannah a call (link), never thought you were that old though...
silverstormer, Sep 02 2003

       Heh.  I guess I should have phrased it differently:

       So, if you're just going to have to stand there,
'Cause walking past others is considered unfair,
Than why bother with a silly ol' moving stair,
When instead you could have a moving chair?
bristolz, Sep 02 2003

       <Off Topic> They should put seating in elevators, in very tall office buildings. In fact they may already, but I have never seen them. </OT>
silverstormer, Sep 02 2003

       <Off Topic> They should put bunkbeds in elevators, in extremely tall office buildings. </OT>
k_sra, Sep 02 2003

       Clever intricacy, but its claim to streamline seems iffy. Requiring separate power transfer and rotor track units for each step means -lots- of bulk, and many more moving parts to fail. Maintenance costs and downtime would likely be higher than for current escalators.   

       [half], as often, has made an elegant simplifying suggestion; I'm picturing fore-aft-symmetrical blocklike steps, right? Do up escalators usually run at the same speed as down ones, btw?   

       Might also vaguely imagine some twist on current escalators by subbing in securely collapsing (aerogel?...) steps to reduce mass overall and bulk on the underside.
n-pearson, Sep 02 2003

       Looking at it from a mechanical perspective i would think this escalator would be a nightmare to build/service. I there would be many more intricate moving parts that could go faulty. The current design which i would assume works similar to tank tracks seems simple enough. I agree with Kreuner though, this would be a great idea as an art piece.
spectator, Sep 02 2003

       Actually, you don't save energy with this half-baking.   

       In baked escalators, the weight of the descending stairs actually pulls on the belt so that it helps to raise the ascending stairs. The only energy consumed is for the payload/people's weight and friction. If you don't harvest the energy of the return stairs, you will lose.   

       And if you try to interlace the steps like an egg-cutter, you'll likely have a lot of friction between the "blades", especially if you get dirt in there from shoes, etc.   

       Oh, not to be a kill-joy, I still give a croissant, as this can still be built, and would no-doubt be insprirational to ride.
sophocles, Sep 02 2003

       Why not just have 2 or 3 blades slightly interlaced(one on eace side and maybe one in the middle) and a single platform be served up on those blades. This way the platform will raise and the rider will never have to worry about getting caught in the "egg slicer" type device.   

On a side note, wonder how the original idea would feel, riding up and down. Wonder if it would feel kinda of like someone slightly breathing on the soles of your feet.
barnzenen, Sep 02 2003

       // Then why not use a normal escalator? //   

       Bah... given the choice, why *would* I use a normal escalator? I don't use escalators *normally* anyways. (I prefer the abnormal uses; run up the down, down the up, or stand diagonally so that I'm perpendicular to the escalator like some escheresque painting).   

       Just don't try to slide down the deceptively smooth ramp on your butt. You'll be instantly bumped sore by 20 steps from nowhere on the way down.
RayfordSteele, Sep 03 2003

       farmer, did you save the schematics? stanna and geocities don't show them anymore.
pashute, Aug 20 2013

       I have one concern with this (assuming I'm understanding it correctly). It seems to me that this would use more energy than a regular escalator. A regular escalator has a continuous chain of steps going around, which takes no power input to turn against gravity according to Stevin's principle of virtual work (though there is obviously some power input necessary to overcome friction). The only energy that goes into raising things against gravity is that used to raise the passengers. This escalator will need to raise each step individually, without descending steps pulling it with their weight, which will take more energy. Of course, you can recover some of the gravitational potential energy of the descending steps with regenerative braking.
notexactly, Apr 21 2016


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