Levytator: The World's First Free-Form Escalator

Since its invention in 1859, the escalator has been the most widely used mode of non-vehicle urban transpiration, ubiquitous everywhere from airports to shopping malls to subways. It is estimated that an escalator is used over 90 billion times a year in the US alone. But the traditional moving staircase has many technical and architectural limitations, with its rigid design and linear structure.

Enter Levytator, the world's first escalator capable of following free-form curves. Named after its inventor, Jack Levy, an Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering at City University London, the device uses a continuous loop of curved modules, reducing the cost compared to a traditional escalator where redundant steps move underneath each other.

Levytator greatly broadens the architectural vocabulary of moving stairs. The concept has been piloted in the UK, US and China, and City University is now looking for partner organizations and architects to take Levitator to market.


Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.

Why American history lives between the cracks

The stories we tell define history. So who gets the mic in America?

  • History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs.
  • In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks.
  • Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers.
Keep reading Show less

Juice is terrible for children. Why do we keep giving it to them?

A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.

Pixabay user Stocksnap

Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you. 

Keep reading Show less

Scientists claim the Bible is written in code that predicts future events

The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.

Michael Drosnin
Surprising Science
  • Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
  • The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
  • Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
Keep reading Show less