Toshiba will launch in early 2008 the world’s first elevators controlled by magnetic levitation.
The company will employ maglev technology — capable of suspending objects in mid-air through the combination of magnetic attraction and repulsion — to control the lifts. Unlike conventional elevators that go up and down on vertical guide rails, the maglev elevator has magnets in place of wheels and moves without touching the rails. The elevators will be quieter and more comfortable and will travel 300 meters (984 feet) per minute.
Maglev technology has already been used to develop high-speed trains. A passenger-carrying maglev train Pudong International Airport in Shanghai to the city center at speeds of 430 kilometers (267 miles) per hour.
A maglev shuttle in Birmingham, U.K. was abandoned in 1995 after 11 years in operation because of technical glitches.