The world's first elevators controlled by magnetic levitation will debut as early as 2008, a Tokyo-based company said Tuesday.

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corp. will employ so-called maglev technology — capable of suspending objects in midair through the combination of magnetic attraction and repulsion — to control the lifts, it said in a statement.

The maglev elevators will be quieter and more comfortable and will travel 984 feet per minute — not as fast as the company's conventional lifts that can move up to 3,314 feet a minute, Toshiba said.

Maglev technology has already been used to develop high-speed trains.

The only passenger-carrying maglev train in the world links Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, to the city center at speeds of 267 miles per hour.

A maglev shuttle in Birmingham, England, was abandoned in 1995 after 11 years in operation because of technical glitches.