How industrial giant ThyssenKrupp is remaking R&D for the era of the smart city

By Scott Kirsner, Editor

It was Roald Dahl, the celebrated children’s writer, who first imagined a glass elevator that could travel “sideways and longways and slantways and any other way you can think of” in his 1964 book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

TK-test-towerJust over fifty years later, in late 2015, the $47 billion German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp introduced an elevator, the MULTI, that could do precisely what Dahl had envisioned. The benefit? Elevators that could move horizontally would make new kinds of building designs possible; allow elevators to switch from one shaft to another; or transport riders from a skyscraper and then down into a subway station a block or two away. An early version of the MULTI elevator is being built into a new testing structure in Rottweil, Germany (pictured at right) that will be nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower. It opens later this year.

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