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.

Escalators: CGI Animation Shows How They Work

Jared Owens uses computer-generated animation (CGI) to show how things work. Escalators are one of his latest topics, and the video he narrates is clear and informative — ideal for children and even adult professionals who want to brush up on their vertical-transportation knowledge. In the video, he provides a brief history of escalators and how the technology evolved, and describes different equipment configurations and the reasons for them. Check it out and get an inside, up-close look at components like step chains, track systems, gears, roller chains and handrails, and they all fit together like a puzzle to enhance efficiency and promote safety. More of Owens’ work can be found on his YouTube channel.

ECNY Supplier Showcase Fun: Hand-Rolled Cigars and Some Very Happy Suppliers

Your author just got back from yet-another wonderful edition of the Elevator Conference of New York’s (ECNY) Supplier Showcase at the lovely Villa Barone Manor in the Bronx. Bobby “Bobby Dee” Defrancesco of Benfield Electric Supply conceived the showcase several decades ago and it’s been going strong, and getting stronger, ever since. There are well over 100 suppliers, thousands of attendees and a significant waiting list of suppliers — not only US-based, but from all over the world.

Silvain Mongrain of Mongrain Vertical Transport always hands out hand-rolled cigars at the showcase, but this year (as he has done on occasion) he offered something very special: cigars being rolled live in person by a professional. Everyone was in high spirits throughout the event, as evidenced by the below picture of the Peelle team.