The escalator was invented over a hundred years ago (in the late 1800s, believe it or not) and since then they've always gone in a straight line; but now, thanks to Jack Levy, an aesthetic upgrade has been developed.
Levy, City University London Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has patented the Levytator, an escalator that can follow curves by means of specially-designed steps that recall the sections of conveyor belt you see at airport baggage claims.
In this economic climate a new, swoopy aesthetic alone might not be enough to promote uptake, but Levy points out that his system has other benefits:
"As all of the steps can be accessed from above, maintenance can be carried out much more easily," says Levy. "It also means that no excavation is required when installing the Levytator. This could be particularly useful in the heritage sector, where the system could be placed on top of a grand staircase in a listed stately home, providing better access for elderly and disabled visitors, but not destroying the fabric of the building."