Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Van de Graaff Escalator

charge upper levels of shopping malls to incredible voltages
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It occured to me in the mall the other day that the design of escalators and the design of Van de Graaff generators are essentially the same. Thus, by using the triboelectric effect, you could generate huge voltages inside of shopping malls and other places that use escalators.

The easiest way would be to use the rubber handrails as the charge carrier. Simply use aluminum for the bottom roller and plastic for the top roller, and install some brushes to transfer the charges. By electrically insulating the seperate floors, you could have one charged to upwards of a million volts compared to the other.

The applications for the hairstyling industry alone would be huge.

kyle90, Feb 14 2007

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       I get zapped by escalators enough as it is without someone redesigning them to do it more effectively.
K o R, Feb 14 2007
  

       Create ionized gas that will cause a balloon to drift upward, carrying kids high up in the mall. If the tether gets lost, the kids stay up until the balloon is slowly deflated.
pashute, Aug 20 2013
  

       Why bother with the balloons? Just charge people until they are electrostatically drawn upwards.   

       You could probably charge for charging people. You'd need an attendant who was charged with charging for charging people.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 20 2013
  

       + for the idea, and ++ for correct spelling of Van de Graaff.
csea, Aug 20 2013
  

       I'm already being overcharged at shopping centres.
AusCan531, Aug 20 2013
  

       If there was enough capacity in the mall, you could have a discharging area too, as long as there wasn't any resistance from the shopkeepers.
Cedar Park, Aug 21 2013
  
      
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