World's Fastest Elevator Installed In World's Tallest Building

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corp announced the installation of the world's fastest passenger elevator just exactly where it is needed - in Taipei 101, the world's tallest building. The elevator runs at a top speed of 1,010 meters per minute when ascending (600 meters per minute on the way down), which works out ot 60.6 kilometers per hour. And it's official; Guiness has certified it for the 2006 edition. Elevator technology is more important than it looks; the invention of the safety elevator by Elisha Otis in 1857 and the subsequent introduction of the gearless traction electric elevator in 1903 allowed designers to create high-rise buildings that people would actually use.



Taipai 101 gets its groove on, January 1, 2005. The structure boasts
 some of the world's fastest elevators. They travel 1,010 meters
(3,333 feet) a minute and can go from the fifth floor to the 89th floor in
39 seconds. (AP Photo/Taipei 101, HO)



The world's fastest elevator offers the following new technologies:

  • The world's first pressure control system, which adjusts the atmospheric pressure inside a car by using suction and discharge blowers, preventing those riding inside the car experiencing 'ear popping'
  • An active control system which cancels vibrations by moving the counter mass in the opposite direction based on the vibration data from a sensor installed in the car
  • Optimization in the configuration of the streamlined car to reduce the whistling noise produced by a car running at a high speed inside a narrow hoist-way. This is based on pressure analysis of the atmosphere in the hoistway and on the car surface during operation

The only thing that would make this Toshiba elevator more cool is if it made use of gravitic repulsion. Speaking of which, check out the over-the-top gravitic repulsion elevator, from Isaac Asimov's 1951 classic Foundation:

The elevator was of the new sort that ran by gravitic repulsion. Gaal entered and others flowed in behind him. The operator closed a contact. For a moment, Gaal felt suspended in space as gravity switched to zero, and then he had weight again in small measure as the elevator accelerated upward. Deceleration followed and his feet left the floor. He squawked against his will. (Read more)

I can't believe there are very many science fiction elevator enthusiasts, but for those of you who can't get enough science-fictional elevators, check out the elegant undersea bubble elevator from Saturn's Race, by Larry Niven. And of course the bounce tubes, from Robert Heinlein's Double Star - they skip the actual elevator car itself - and Heinlein had them long before George Jetson.

And don't forget what must be the ultimate tallest elevator - the space elevator from Arthur C. Clarke's The Fountains of Paradise. See the toshiba elevator press release and the detailed elevator engineering description; hat-tip to Roland (more info on the building at his site).

(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from - where science meets fiction.)