Pre-pandemic, we thought nothing of getting into a packed elevator; indeed it was considered a luxury over having to climb stairs. And for wheelchair users, elevators are often the only way to go up or down. But now that we've all learned more about how viruses are transmitted, no one will be happy to walk or roll into a closet-sized space filled with other people. What can be done?
Both companies are proposing active air-filtering systems for when people are in the cars. Thyssenkrupp Elevator China's description is vague, whereas Freedom Industry Co. specifically refers to a "Matrix air curtain 'isolation' above and within the head area to cut off/block the transmission of viruses caused by breathing, droplets, or aerosols and avoid cross-infection in elevator cars." (It is not clear whether "within the head area" will include the heads of those at wheelchair height or children.)
I didn't see this one coming, but companies these days--particularly Chinese ones--do seem obsessed with getting our faces into their databases. TEC's proposal for how the technology can help:
"Our intelligent face (sic) recognition control panel allows users to operate the elevator without having to touch any button (sic). When in front of the panel, the high-definition camera recognizes the passenger and automatically places a call (sic) to the designated floor."
There is no mention made of how facial recognition would work if we're wearing face masks.
Also proposed by TEC, this makes a little more sense than face-rec. Being able to summon an elevator and select a floor without touching anything will surely appeal to the germ-conscious.
I think changes 1, 3 and 4 make the most sense, and because the technology already exists, I believe we can expect to see these modifications arriving shortly. Property managers hoping to keep their facilities full will have no choice but to install them.