Saturday, December 10, 2016

Interesting Bit of Technology

What you see here in this shopping center with an underground parking garage is a very common thing in Australia: a travelator.

A travelator is a cross between an escalator and one of those moving sidewalks from the airport. Instead of stairs, there is simply a moving ramp to take you up or down a floor.

"Why not just use an escalator", you may ask. Ah, the Australian have thought this through. You can't take your grocery cart on an escalator. Thus, by installing a travelator, you have a place to push your carts onto to ride to and from the parking garage with ease.

Think about this for just a minute. If you push your cart onto a ramp, won't it just roll away from you? Thi is where the Australian ingenuity shines. You notice above that the surface of the travelator looks much like the stairs in the escalator with the ridges and troughs running the length of the device.

What these clevel Australian have done is made the wheels on the carts have rims around the edges that are narrow enough to drop into the troughs. You can see this in the picture below.

And to the seal the deal, the middle portion of the wheel has a piece of material that loops around the wheel and is securely attached to the frame of the cart and does not move.

This way, when the rims on the wheel drop into the slots in the travelator surface, the carts is now resting on the unmoving strap in the center of the wheel. In this way, as if by magic, when you push your grocery cart onto the sloped travelator, it stays put and rides with you without rolling to the other end where is simply glides off the end and once more rolls. Pretty clever, eh?