Thursday, November 17, 2005

Elevators

Sumit Mehra, a soon-to-be-microsoftie making games in India (which I didn't know we even did!?) came across my blog and dropped me some mail. I went over and looked at his, and he had a post talking about what people do in elevators. Stare at floor, ceiling, read, whistle, etc. He also talked about what he thinks about and asked what others do. I'm cut-n-pasting my response because, well, I'm rather fond of it.

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I like to think about elevator design. And for that matter, marketing. And construction. And maintenance...

Who built this elevator? Why did the builder choose this company over another? Why did they pick this design over what was probably a catalog of options? Was it strictly capacity? Aesthetics? Technical Features?

Oh boy, how I love to think about the design side. Many pet peeves here. Algorithms: Is each elevator autonomous, or do they know "elevator number 2 is stopping at floor 5, so I don't need to" or do they work independantly? How could it be made more efficient and convenient? If it's a really tall building, do they factor in acceleration and velocity into the algorithm, or just on/off?

Design Peeve: In North America, if someone accidentally presses a button for the wrong floor, then everyone must stop at that floor and wait akwardly while doors open & close. In Japan, if you hit the wrong button, you can PRESS IT AGAIN TO SWITCH IT OFF!! What a simple design improvement!! Why has that not been adopted world-wide? Is it patented or something? :-)

I guess in short, I think about how this elevator got here, and how, if I were to build one, how would I build it cheaper, better, lower-maintenance, etc. How would I improve the world around me given the chance.

Plenty of stuff to do in elevators beside stare at the floor...

2 comments:

Oded Sharon said...

[sarcasm] Yay kim ! Thanks for introducing me to YET ANOTHER blog !
I have too much spare time as it is...[/ sarcasm]

Anyways, i've left you a reply on your comment there....

Sumit said...

As Kim mentioned, elevators with the functionality of on/off - press twice to switch off incase call activated accidentally -> this does solve if the problem/accident happened inside of the lift.

There are times when there are multiple elevators next to each other. People generally tend to press buttons for both while outside (A Lift Call - operation).

Lift 1 comes before -> the person moves in -> Now Lift 2 comes and performs a worthless open-close.

There are sliding doors (super malls, hotels) where there are sensors and the door performs open-close on the basis of light-sensors. Same functionality is used in toilets for automatic flushing.

I guess this added feature in an elevator can solve the out-side problem......but will it be cost effective, will it really help?