This weekend, more than 100 university teams met at Texas A&M University to show off their designs for SpaceX’s Hyperloop competition – and a group of graduate students from MIT took home the prize for best overall design. While Elon Musk originally conceived of the pods floating on a cushion of air, the MIT team decided to go in a different direction and create lift using strong magnets instead. Their final design will be roughly 2.5 meters long, 1 meter wide, and weigh 250 kilograms.
Teams from the Delft University of Technology, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Virginia Tech, and University of California Irvine also received honors at the Hyperloop design competition. Contestants had a few requirements to incorporate into their Hyperloop designs: they needed to accommodate a mechanical pusher that would serve as a propulsion system, and include sensors to broadcast real-time telemetry data. The designs could also levitate within the tube enclosing the track.
Now that the first round of the competition is over, 22 finalists will move from simulations of their designs to actually fabricating a prototype. This summer, the completed pods will be tested on a track SpaceX is building near their Hawthorne, California headquarters. Each team has until mid-May to complete their capsules. SpaceX isn’t the only company testing the concept — Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is also set to break ground on a five-mile test track this year.
Images via MIT Hyperloop Team