Elevator-Pitch Competition

The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) announced the winners of the Elevate Your Pitch competition.

The elevator-pitch competition, judged by members of Schindler Elevator Corporation, was based on the premise of giving a quick description of a business and/or idea in the time it would take to ride up an elevator (about 60 s), AIAS said in a press release.

The competition, which ran from February-June 2019, gave students the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win one of three cash prizes. The panel of judges chose the top three entries to compete in the finals at the AIAS Grassroots Leadership Conference on July 18-21, 2019.

The winners of the competition were:

First Place | $2,500

The Supply Machine, submitted by Joey Sandoval and Ethan Herrold of the University of Colorado Boulder, is a conveniently located pop-up style vending machine for essential, must-have design materials.

Second Place | $1,000

The Patch Wand, submitted by Joshua Greene of California Baptist University, is a handheld scanner designed to repair objects and reduce waste by enabling clients to 3D print “patches.”

Third Place | $500

Sum of its Parts, submitted by Randa Malkawi and Luke Rumage of the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center of Virginia Tech, is a series of unique outdoor furniture that invites everyone to interact with it and create their own space.

For more information on the competition, visit aias.org/pitch.

Otis Elevators in Empire State Building Get Their Due in New Exhibit

On July 29, visitors to the world-famous Empire State Building in NYC have the opportunity to embark on a “journey from the building’s construction to its place in pop culture today.” For elevator (and history, design and technology) enthusiasts, that journey includes a brand-new Otis display, which Otis states “showcases our rich history with this iconic building, as well as our latest technology that transports more than 10 million people each year . . . .” A few years ago, Otis won a hotly competitive contract to modernize the 68-elevator system, a job that included restoration of the Art Deco elevator lobby. At the time, it was the biggest elevator modernization in Otis’ 158-year history. Available with the purchase of a ticket to the Empire State Building’s 86th-floor observatory, the Otis elevator display allows guests to walk through a simulation of an elevator shaft. The display showcases not only how the original elevators operated, but the new technology installed. The new 2nd Floor Exhibits also include vivid, action-packed looks at the site in the 1920s, construction of the buildings, major tenant spaces, most famous celebrity visitors (with signed memorabilia) and, of course, King Kong!! If you’re in NYC, be sure to check it out.

A virtual elevator shaft can be experienced as part of Otis’ new display in the 2nd Floor Exhibits at the Empire State Building in NYC; image courtesy of Empire Realty Trust.
Otis’ new display in the Empire State Building’s 2nd Floor Exhibits offer a trip through time and an in-depth look at the landmark’s elevator system; image courtesy of Empire Realty Trust.

New Ultra-Strong Fiber Could Make the Space Elevator a Reality

A new fiber, developed by a research team in Beijing, China could be strong enough to make a space elevator possible.

A theory for how a space elevator would work; courtesy of South China Morning Post

According to South China Morning Post, the team from Tsinghua University built a fiber from carbon nanotube that they say is “stronger than anything seen before.” They say 1 cm3 of the fiber wouldn’t break under the weight of 160 elephants (more than 800 t). In addition to being strong, a piece of cable that size would only weigh 1.6 g.

Ideas for a space elevator have been floating around for more than a century but the idea has never made it past physical and mathematical models because no material has been found that is strong enough to build the unit.

One of the main theories for a space elevator would involve sending a large satellite into orbit that would lower a cable to the ground and be anchored. Another cable would go in the opposite direction to serve as a counterweight. The lift would then, theoretically, be suspended between the two cables, pulled taut by gravity and centrifugal force.

The new fiber is the first that may be strong enough to make the space elevator a reality, but for now, it’s too soon to tell.