Visit to Shanghai´s spiral escalator

A lot has been written about the Shanghai spiral escalator, here are my 50 cents…

As the first of its kind, this escalator arrangement is breath taking, it is a remarkable feature in the overall design of the mall.




It is arrange in two coulombs of six 160 Deg. spiral machines, all leading upwards. There are two additional coulombs of strait escalators behind the spiral ones leading costumers downward, and an impressive bank of glass elevators. Totaling 24 escalators and 6 elevators servicing the main atrium.


Typically to shopping centers, the escalators moves slowly, and the riding experience is not as thrilling as one might expect.


All in all the spatial experience is great and the design of both the escalators and elevator is highly luxurious, details are well thought and executed, particularly the elevator’s curved corners glass car.



Once again, well done! Shanghai rocks!


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Mitsubishi Strikes again

An impressive revival of the Mitsubishi spiral escalator product was announced last month in a Shanghai shopping mall. This impressive 12 machine setup stands as the largest spiral escalator arrangement in the world to date.


like so many other things coming from China, it lacks some innovation but it is multiplied to the extent of being amazing. It made its viral way throughout the Internet, witch was probably the main advertisement goal for this incentive.  The mall architects created a magnificently disorienting riding experience where riders get off the escalator opposite to the direction they board it, they have to walk around the whole atrium to find the escalator going the other direction (this is good for shopping mall owners, not for transportation) but what can you say? this is truly astonishing.


To bad they used a 30 years old machine design, that sold approximately 110 machine worldwide so far. Mitsubishi sales persons describes it as state of the art wonder, when in fact all engineers involved in its development are all retired or dead (I bet they’d like to see this one… )

We at Helixator hope this kind of projects will raise the awareness and fuel the development of new technologies, where spiral and helical escalators will be a part of our daily 21st century lives.  Well done China!

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Helixator prototype underway

Helixator’s CTO – Michel David, have presented the background study for the Helixator technology development at the design modelling symposium Berlin, where it was warmly accepted by attending academia engineers and architects.

” There is a general agreement that such technologies are an important key for successful urbanization and stronger urban economies. The company is proud to stand in the forefront of contemporary escalator technology” said Michel.

DMSB_2013_Michel David_013_credit

The company currently plans to build a fully operational prototype leading the technology to the next milestone on the way to full realization.

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PROTOTYPING HELIXATOR – Engineering a myth

flyer_DMSB_2013Lecture at the Design Modelling Symposium Berlin (DMSB) 2013, Universität der Künste (UDK) Berlin, Germany.  Monday, 30 September, 14:00 

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Helical Escalators and Moving Walkways


Read full paper as presented by Michel David at ELEVCON 2010, The conference of the International association of elevator engineers (IAEE), Lucerne, Switzerland.

Download 3D PDF here (or click image)

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Riding Heathrow’s PRT

Personal Rapid Transit systems have been built around the world since the early 1960’s. In their essence they are designed to solve complex local transportation problems. Many PRT’s system designs exist, and differ in all major subsystems including car designs, rails structures and drive systems. A successful design brings many advantages on the aspects of environment, safety and contribution to local economy.


In my last visit to London I’ve had the opportunity to ride Heathrow’s PRT system. The system brings passengers from the airport’s terminal 5 to a business parking. Built by British “Ultra”, The system comprises of 22 battery powered cars, driving on 3.8 km of elevated guideways.


On December 2012 the 500,000 passenger rode the system in just 18 month of operation and it is considered to be a great successes by both Ultra and the airport’s operator.


The riding experience is very good, and I’ve enjoyed enormously the automated driverless feel. I didn’t wait at all ,and could enjoy several rides sitting by myself in the car. The cars external and interior designs are settle and comfortable, the stations are well designed and are easy to understand and use, however the track structure lacks the futuristic edge such system deserves.


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“The Flying Car is near”

“The Idea of a Flying car is not new; ever since we have developed airplanes and cars, people tried to combine them into one coherent vehicle that will take us from place to place”.

Watch the “Flying Car is near” presentation as presented by Michel David at Singularity university, August 16 2012

Presentation slides in PDF format : The-Flying-car-is-near_Michel-David_003

For more information about the Flying Car research, please check out:                                                                 or contact :

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