Tokyo to get world's first 'maglev' elevator

First elevators controlled by magnetic levitation will debut as early as 2008, a Tokyo-based company says.

January 18, 2006 |

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corp. will employ so-called maglev technology -- capable of suspending objects in mid-air through the combination of magnetic attraction and repulsion -- to control the lifts, it said in a statement.

The maglev elevators will be quieter and more comfortable and will travel 300 meters (984 feet) per minute -- not as fast as the company's conventional lifts that can move up to 1,010 meters (3,314 feet) a minute, Toshiba said.

Maglev technology has already been used to develop high-speed trains. The only passenger-carrying maglev train in the world links Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, to the city center at speeds of 430 kilometers (267 miles) per hour.

A maglev shuttle in Birmingham, U.K. was abandoned in 1995 after 11 years in operation because of technical glitches.

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