When we first heard about hotels testing delivery robots that could ride elevators on their own, our first thought was that it was highly weird and disconcerting. That was before COVID-19. Now, these robots are delivering meals and speaking to those in Chinese quarantine hotels in “eerie, childlike voices,” The Japan Times is among news outlets to report. Still highly weird and disconcerting, the elevator-riding robots have seemingly found their purpose as part of a system that involves “ghostly figures in hazmat suits and cameras pointed at front doors” that Chinese authorities have put in place at hotels where people are isolated after arriving from overseas or from one of the coronavirus hotspots. The source describes the setup as “China’s sci-fi quarantine watch.” It brings to mind stories like Margaret Atwood’s fascinating Handmaid’s Tale (the book is better than the TV show) and the highly underrated movie Moon starring Sam Rockwell, in which the actor Kevin Spacey portrays the only “virtual friend” of a man mining alone on the moon. I highly recommend you check the movie out.
Don Gelestino, president of Champion Elevator in NYC and good friend of ELEVATOR WORLD, recently shared on his LinkedIn page a link to a blog posted by Avire on its website that we found fascinating, and a great read for anyone sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic: “The History of Elevators: Where Did it All Begin?” If you said it started with Elisha Graves Otis in the 1850s, you’d be wrong. Turns out, you’d have to go back about two millenia to possibly find the answer: Tradition has it that Archimedes, the renowned ancient Greecian scientist, invented the elevator in 236 BCE. We say “possibly,” because the ancient Egyptians are believed to have used a hoisting device, powered by animals or good-old human elbow grease, to build the pyramids more than 2,000 years before the birth of Archimedes.
Granted, we’ll probably never know who first used an elevator-like contraption, but the Avire blog does take us through the device’s documented history, noting that they were used in the Roman Colosseum (built between 70 and 80 CE), and were popular among 18th-century monarchs. Finally, the Avire post takes us through a timeline of post-Otis improvements. It even hints at what the next big thing may very well be.
The IanVisits blog took a detailed look at London’s Farringdon Crossrail station last month. Scheduled to be one of the first Crossrail (a new east-west railway) stations to open next year, the station has history dating back to 1863. The massive renovation will combine the London Underground, Thameslink and the Elizabeth line with more than 150 trains per hour passing though at peak times and connections to three airports.
On one end, escalators and an inclined lift that matches the angle of the escalators offer an “elegant solution,” the source notes. Also, there’s warmer lighting on the platforms than in the corridors leading to the escalators, which is hoped to affect on how people move, “with people instinctively gravitating towards the warmer tones of the platform when they leave the escalators.”
Be sure to check out the post on IanVisits for many more station details and great photos.