City University of London has recently announced the existence of The Levytator, a pedestrian transportation system dubeed as “the first escalator capable of following free-form curves.” The Levytator is an invention by mechanical engineering professor Jack Levy. Like conventional elevators, this new sort of pedestrian transportation works as a closed loop of linked steps.
While conventional escalators move steps underneath to return them to starting point, The Levytator loops its steps sideways. This configuration allows the system to transition from moving stairs into powered walkways in one chain. As all steps are accessible from above, Levy promises that the Levytator provides a maximized “cost per usable step”, easy maintenance, and suitability for old architecture. “The system could be placed on top of a grand staircase in a listed stately home, providing better access for elderly and disabled visitors, but not destroying the fabric of the building.”
It would be interesting to see how architects and building engineers make use of The Levytator system. Backed by a patents “in the UK, Europe, the USA, and China”, and an official press release from City University, it’s also clear that Levy and his employer want to profit off licensing fees.