Not only are the nation’s escalators attacking old people at an alarming rate, they are also growing more powerful by the day.
According to the New York Times, some escalators in that city’s subway stations now have the ability to sense when humans are around and change speeds accordingly:
Using infrared motion sensors, the escalators will slow to a crawl of just 15 feet per minute when no one is on them, compared with the normal full speed of 100 feet per minute. The escalators will gradually accelerate to the full speed, over a period of a few seconds, once a rider steps on them.
Not only can the new machines buck the elderly with wild changes of speed, but they can also take a short nap afterward:
“Like humans, machines benefit from a little rest from time to time, and the escalators that provide service to subway customers are no exception,” said Paul J. Fleuranges, a spokesman for New York City Transit, the arm of the authority that runs the subways and buses.
He’s right. I once saw a robot dressed like a human resting on the side of the road next to a mangled motorcycle. My friend said he thought it was a man who had fallen off a motorcycle. I said you would fall for that one, wouldn’t you?