Mitsubishi develops world’s fastest elevator, but will stomachs be able to handle it?

When it comes to elevators, surely there comes a point when it’s time to say, “That’s fast enough, thanks.”

Any such comments have evidently fallen on deaf ears at Mitsubishi, as engineers working for the Japanese company have designed what they believe to be the world’s fastest elevator.

Set for use in the under-construction 632-meter (2,073 feet) Shanghai Tower, the elevator will hurtle through the building at a blackout-inducing (though one assumes it won’t literally cause its occupants to faint) 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) per minute. That’s 16.6 meters per second. I’m feeling light-headed just thinking about it.

“In response to the increasing height of high-rise buildings amid continuing urban population growth, the role of elevators is gaining even greater importance,” the Japanese company said in a statement. “In response, Mitsubishi Electric is developing advanced solutions incorporating technologies and equipment for enhanced drive and controllability, safety, super high-rise cable mechanics and passenger comfort.”

The maker of the elevator explained in the statement that a smooth ride is ensured by “a new active roller guide, which reduces vibration from the guide rails and wind, [enhancing] passenger comfort even at ultra-high speeds.” Also, the interior of the elevator is extra quiet, “thanks to a streamlined aerodynamic car cover and a high sound insulation cage.”

Of course, there will be some people in the building worried about the pressure in their ears reaching head-splitting proportions, but fear not, Mitsubishi has that covered too, with air pressure inside the elevators being controlled to eliminate discomfort caused by the rapid change in altitude.

The company promises improved safety, reliability and comfort with the elevators, though one assumes no amount of technology will be able to stop your stomach moving towards your mouth when traveling at these kinds of speeds.

The Shanghai Tower, which should be completed around 2014, will have 128 floors served by 106 elevators—all built by Mitsubishi.

[Image: John T Takal / Shutterstock]

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