In science fiction films and TV shows, elevators look for the most part so much cooler than they do in real life. They look like space capsules zipping effortlessly up transparent tubes from one floor to another. Somehow these futuristic elevators never seem to make one wait, either, or stop on too many floors
before the one you want, but that’s another matter.
A company called Daytona Elevator has brought the future imagined by The Jetsons into reality with a product called the Pneumonic Vacuum Elevator. It’s being marketed for residential use, but one suspects that it could also be useful for small business establishments of two or three floors.
The Pneumonic Vacuum Elevator does away with cables, pulleys, and pistons that are the features of ordinary elevators. Instead it operates on the principle of air pressure. If one wants to ascend to another floor, the Pneumonic Vacuum Elevator pumps air out of the shaft above the car, causing the air pressure below the car to push it upwards. To descend, air pressure above the car is slowly restored.
The Pneumonic Vacuum Elevator is built of aluminum and polycarbonate. The car and shaft are transparent, allowing one a 360 view. The model being sold is 37 inches in diameter and up to thirty five feet in length. It is powered by 220 volt turbines and is energy efficient, with no energy expended during descent. Locking devices keep the car at the upper and lower limits of the shaft. It will ascend or descend at about thirty feet per minute.
Daytona Elevator advertises the Pneumonic Vacuum Elevator as being extremely easy to install in a two or three story home. There are safety features to keep the car from going into free fall in the event of power loss or some other break down.
The Pneumonic Vacuum Elevator weighs 660 pounds for the two story model and 990 pounds for the three story model. It can lift up to 450 pounds at a time, though more robust models that can handle greater loads, such as a person in a wheel chair, are being explored. Costs are dependant on the location and specific installation requirements. A Pneumonic Vacuum Elevator is cheaper to install than a regular elevator as extensive modifications to the home or business are not required.
One can imagine that the Pneumonic Vacuum Elevator would be very useful for people with mobility problems who live in a two or three story home. It could be useful for moving heavy objects from one floor to another without the back breaking effort of lugging them up and down stairs. There are also certain tax and home value advantages to having one installed in ones home. Finally, the Pneumonic Vacuum Elevator looks pretty cool, just as if it were in a house owned by the Jetsons.