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Wave Escalator

For more efficient escalator-walking
  [vote for,

This idea came to me in a dream: [1]

(This is likely to be more useful for up escalators, so that's what I'll describe. If you want to replace all 'up's with 'down's and read it that way, go ahead—it should make sense that way too.)

Imagine an escalator. The steps move upward on the upper surface, and downward underneath to circle back around. Each step moves upward at constant velocity, pulled along by a chain, and humans ride them. Sometimes, humans walk up them in the typical manner of ascending stairs, rather than riding passively. This idea aims to make that active ascent more efficient.

Take that escalator you're imagining, and change the connection between the steps and the chain, as well as the mating faces of the steps, such that each step can hinge up and down about the rear edge of its tread (where the tread meets the riser of the next step up) [2] or somewhere near that location. Next, add some mechanism to actuate each step up and down in sequence, so as to form a wave motion moving up the escalator. For example, this mechanism could be a pinion gear associated with each step, riding on a stationary gear rack that goes up the length of the escalator's stair flight, and connected to a crank that controls the angle of the step. The mechanisms will need to be calibrated and synchronized so as to produce a useful wave. (A wave-shaped track along the flight, with a follower on each step, would produce a standing wave, not a traveling wave: not useful.)

The effect of this is a traveling wave going up the escalator at a rate ideally equal to the rate of ascent of a person actively climbing the escalator. This should make it more efficient for those users to ascend, if they synchronize their ascent with the wave so as to have shorter steps to climb, while not impacting the overall ascent rate of passive riders. (It remains to be seen whether the wave-influenced upward velocity is acceptably unannoying to passive riders.)

notexactly, Apr 21 2016

[1] My dream https://np.reddit.c...ple_parallel_lives/
[notexactly, Apr 21 2016]

[2] Stairs terminology https://en.wikipedi...omponents_and_terms
[notexactly, Apr 21 2016]

Step by Step Escalation an idea by [FarmerJohn] that accomplishes a similar thing, but does not accomodate passive riders [notexactly, Apr 21 2016]

worm train worm_20train
Stations on the Worm Train Railway will have escalators like this [hippo, Apr 21 2016]


       [+] because realizing stuff from dreams is wonderfully trippy.
CraigD, Apr 23 2016


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