Escalator Invention in the Running for LEGO League Championship

A recent article from Louisville, Kentucky’s WAVE 3 News is about a sharp team of fourth- through sixth-grade students in a local robotics program who aim to make escalators more accessible to those who can’t see well. The Good Vibrations invention uses a transducer to produce vibrations on escalator steps so riders can feel where they are.

Portland Christian School’s first LEGO League team “is causing a stir in the robotics world,” the source says. 11-year-old programmer Lydia Kratt inspired her five fellow members to help those like a friend of hers with disabilities overcome fears of escalators. They’re in the process of patenting the device for such public places as churches, airports and malls. They ranked third of 49 teams across Kentucky, earning an invitation to the national competitions. They also won first place for a LEGO League Global Innovation award, which recognizes the best project ideas most likely to be implemented.

The sight impaired traditionally use elevators for vertical transportation, where Braille is common. Is it a great idea for them to use escalators, too? Check out the video included in the link above to see how the device works and what the inventors have to say about it.

How Skyscrapers Are Built

The following is a guest post by Christian Castillo, junior content marketing specialist at siegemedia. . . . Editor

Skyscrapers are pretty much a part of our everyday lives now. In fact, they’re so ingrained into that it’s sometimes hard to imagine they didn’t just come premade with the city. They are unique and highly useful buildings, and each one is unique to another. However, their methods of construction aren’t vastly different. The animated infographic below from BigRentz shows the most common method of how a skyscraper is built, and it’s interesting to see all the different moving parts that go into their construction.

how skyscrapers are built

Going to the Special Macy’s

Having read so much about its classic wooden escalators during my years at ELEVATOR WORLD, I finally got to visit the Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan on a recent trip there. Though I really didn’t think I’d be surprised, the beauty and durability of these marvels of vertical transportation gave me a new appreciation for what Otis did at the venerable store in the 1920s and 1930s — not to mention the hard work of keeping them running decade after decade.

Not only do they look nice (especially for their age!), as you can see above, they also sound surprisingly soothing. A pleasant repetition of “click-clack” resounds throughout the six or so floors, where one wooden escalator after another can be found. I was fortunate to be able to enjoy a few peaceful trips on my visit, since the store wasn’t as packed as it often is.

What a fun ride!