Coming to a HDB block near you? Cable-less 'Willy Wonka' lift that zips horizontally

If you've ever dreamed of travelling in a lift that zips horizontally like the Great Glass Elevator of Mr Willy Wonka's chocolate factory in the classic Roald Dahl tale, hold on to your seat.

German company ThyssenKrupp AG announced on Thursday it has developed the world's first cable-free system that uses magnets to propel elevators through buildings at speeds of 5 metres per second and - get this - horizontally and vertically, reports said.

The innovation has drawn comparisons, including from Britain's Telegraph newspaper, to the magical glass elevator featured in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

While the storybook elevator can travel horizontally, vertically and even fly, ThyssenKrupp's model is a little more down to earth. Using the magnetic levitation technology common in high-speed train networks, the German firm's system allows multiple elevators to pass through a single shaft and uses a "multi-level braking system", increasing efficiency and cutting waiting time to between 15 and 30 seconds, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

"Per year, New York City office workers spend a cumulative amount of 16.6 years waiting for elevators, and 5.9 years in the elevators. This data provides how imperative it is to increase the availability of elevators," said Andreas Schierenbeck, chief executive of ThyssenKrupp Elevator.

The system, which the company dubbed MULTI, is designed for mid- and high-rise buildings with an optimal height of at least 300 metres, Bloomberg said.

"As the nature of building constructions evolve, it is also necessary to adapt elevator systems to better suit the requirements of buildings and high volumes of passengers," said Schierenbeck.

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