NOV 30, 2016
A HUGE thank you to each and every backer from the Waterloop team! We are all so thrilled at the outpouring of support. The kickstarter campaign successfully closed with over 500 backers bringing in $43 000 in funding. Thank you friends!
Let us celebrate with this track created by our backer James from Edinburgh!
You can check out his Waterloop inspired sounds below. Thank you very much James!
Thank you all for supporting us!
Hyperloop sets a new bar for sustainability in transit
NOV 9, 2016
A futuristic concept of how we move between city centers may be hurtling into our reality. Since being proposed by Elon Musk in 2013, the Hyperloop concept has made significant strides forward. With passenger capsules shooting through a near-vacuum tube approaching the speed of sound, Musk once described it as, “a cross between a rail gun, the concord, and an air hockey table.”
SpaceX has continued its open-sourced, international design competition to build and test the first Hyperloop pods. Since its start in August 2015, 31 of the original 1200+ teams are left in the race to build the best pod prototype, to be tested in the final round at the SpaceX headquarters in January 2017. After two rounds of elimination, there is only one Canadian representative remaining in the competition – “Waterloop”- the determined and imaginative University of Waterloo team.
Hyperloop's vision for sustainability
The Hyperloop offers the potential for a radical leap forward, able to combat concerns about our economic and energy future. The technology is still in its naissance but predictions estimate top speeds of 1,200 km/h (making the Hyperloop comparable to long-distance commercial air travel in speed) on only its own generated power.
In fact, should the advancement of Hyperloop technology prove successful, it is projected to produce far in excess of the amount of energy it needs to run. Solar panels lining the tube supply the necessary energy for periodic acceleration or deceleration of the pod. The same design features which enable the Hyperloop to travel incredibly fast, are also the same features which radically improve the design’s efficiency. Unlike every other method of transit other than space shuttles in orbit, continuous power isn’t necessary due to the near elimination of friction and drag on the capsule in the tube’s low pressure environment and the magnetic or pneumatic levitation of the vehicle. Excess energy can be stored in battery packs to allow for use during nighttime and cloudy conditions, or simply used to supply the grid. These aspects of the Hyperloop which set a new standard for sustainability in transit infrastructure have enabled our team to work with partners such as sustainable.TO, a sustainably oriented architecture and building firm in Toronto, who have supported the development of the technology at Waterloop.
One major hurdle is how to maintain a partial vacuum along the length of a several hundred-kilometer tube. There are obvious concerns relating to the possibility of air leaks and that maintaining a low-pressure environment may require more energy than the solar panels could provide. In response, the SpaceX design proposes a low-pressure system set at a level that commercial pumps could easily respond and overcome an air leak.
To minimize ground disruption, the Hyperloop was designed to be elevated on columns rather than being an entirely ground-based system. This should also drastically decrease construction time and cost as well.
Finally, with a projected carrying capacity of 840 passengers per hour, the Hyperloop could remove drivers from highly congested roads. For the original route proposal between Los Angeles and San Francisco, it would be sufficient to transport all 6 million passengers travelling each year and account for 70 per cent of travelers during rush hour.
While Musk initially proposed the Hyperloop to solve the issue of the hyper-congested traffic between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the excitement surrounding this futuristic infrastructure is palpable throughout North America, perhaps partially due to the failure of train infrastructure in the continent.
Across the country, Canadian infrastructure has either failed to be properly maintained or built. Too much responsibility has been shifted from the federal government onto the municipal, territorial and provincial levels of government and today, roughly 95 per cent of Canada’s public infrastructure falls to them. A Hyperloop line between Toronto and Montreal for example, could stand to be the most technologically advanced and exciting undertaking in Canadian public infrastructure.
Will Canada take on Hyperloop?
Even if the Hyperloop is not the future-focused infrastructure that Canada decides to implement, the sparked passions around this unbelievable technology as it is thrown into our world could spur Canada to be imaginative with this opportunity. Right now Canada is at a unique moment in time where historically low long-term interest rates and a large infrastructure need present an opportunity for significant investment in public infrastructure. When the argument against implementing sustainable technology is often that it isn’t economically viable, the Hyperloop proposes a situation where economics and environmental concerns support movement forward. While incremental steps forward are good, the state of our world demands leaps as well.
While a lot of work and innovation still remains before the Hyperloop has the potential to reach these lofty goals, perhaps the biggest success of the Hyperloop has already happened: exciting the world, especially North America, with a vision for a technologically feasible, economically viable, and sustainably ambitious alternative to the vast network of highways and airports that dominate our continent.
GOOSE I takes flight!
Nov 8, 2016
Team Waterloop is thrilled to announce we have successfully demonstrated the world's first functional pneumatic hyperloop levitation system!
The Public Launch:
A week ago today on a Tuesday evening, Team Waterloop held an event at the University of Waterloo geared towards sharing our project with attendees ranging from the local Waterloo tech talent to various media outlets. Please look out for us online and in print, and join in the Waterloop excitement! The live stream from this event can be found on our Facebook page.
Articles documenting the event:
Lot 41 and Camino Modular Systems has graciously sponsored an amazing warehouse facility and 12,000 sqft of flooring so that we can build a 300 foot test track to help prepare for SpaceX's competition in January.
Slow speed lateral is ready and working!
The slow speed lateral wheels help to stabilize the levitation, allowing the pod to move in a straight line.
Wood was chosen for lateral control as a cost effective material and for ease of manufacturing.
The EC braking system is on its way, this week the team will continue to build - stay tuned for more updates!
Shown here is a segment of the magnet braking array, with thermal insulation and milling on one side
Team Waterloop is so thrilled to have surpassed our goal by over $8,000! However to fully complete our pod with the best and newest technology and help our pod perform at its highest capacity, we would love see this campaign reach $42,000! Our stretch goals will help us to finish our pod with all the bells and whistles.
If we reach $30 000.00 CAD:
- Release a video update featuring our pneumatic levitation system!
- Host an additional AMA on Reddit after our pod is complete (approximately January 2017), Follow our first AMA here.
- Help us build a 300 ft test track in our 40k sq. ft testing facility (LOT41)!
- Release a video of our test runs if we meet this mark!
If we reach $35 000.00 CAD:
- Install a 100 ft aluminum I-beam in our test track to test braking systems
- Host a LIVE stream update at some point during the competition in January 2017 where our followers can ask team members questions!
If we reach $40 000.00 CAD:
- Material costs to reduce weight and increase levitation performance
- Build a carbon fiber frame
If we reach $50 000.00 CAD:
- Release a 360 degree video live stream to see what GOOSE I experiences during the race
We have 10 more days until the campaign ends on Nov 18th, 2016. Help us to not only build our pod but build the best pod to win the race!
Until next time,
- Team Waterloop
Behind the scenes of a kickstarter campaign
October 28, 2016
Waterloop has successfully funded our first two phases in the SpaceX Hyperloop competition, but building one of the world’s first Hyperloop prototypes isn’t just exciting, fun, and incredibly hard, it also will cost us around $36,000.
We launched our Kickstarter campaign to help us reach our goal.
It took many rounds of edits. We started with a mock up of the site and pulled text from our Team Vision document. From there, drafts were created that tailored the campaign to be Kickstarter specific.
After the original draft, finalizing the rewards became a team wide brainstorm. Great ideas like a meet and greet with GOOSE I and naming a subsystem came out of this.
A few days before launching, we submitted the campaign to Kickstarter to review, where we were noticed by the integrity team. They passed us onto a Kickstarter employee who took a special interest in our cause. She was extremely helpful in creating a strategy for our page. With her advice, we altered content so the eye catching images were at the top and text heavy sections were pushed lower. Key to our success on Kickstarter is our video, which had over 17 000 views in the first 7 days of our campaign.
While we were hoping for the most successful launch possible, I don’t think anyone on the team expected to be 15 per cent funded in the first 12 hours, let alone over 50 per cent funded in 48 hours after launch and fully funded within a week!
Reaching this goal so quickly is proof that the transportation industry is ready for a change in the way people travel, and investing in technology is what will make that change happen.
The momentum of the Kickstarter campaign has incited the passion of our team and the brilliant, wide ranging, and cohesive graphic set speak to the amount of detail that has been put into every stage of the design process. Team Waterloop has been working on this campaign with all of their free time, while also being full time co-op employees or full time students. The campaign has been a really wonderful collaboration between those on the marketing side and those involved in designing the technology. The cross-pollination of ideas between faculties has created an increased common knowledge through the whole team. As I have learned how much effort goes into designing a subsystem, our engineers are learning what it takes to sell an idea.
On Oct. 24, we surpassed our goal of $20,000 at 212 backers. Thank you to all those that supported and donated to help our team succeed. Due to the overwhelming success, our team is introducing stretch goals for future enhancements of our pod for the second competition, to help send as much of the team to California as we can, and connect with supporters and sponsors through more events. We ask for your continued support on Kickstarter, through donating or sharing our campaign.
We will be hosting a Levitation Unveil Event on Nov. 1. The event is geared towards sharing our project with attendees ranging from the local Waterloo tech talent to various media outlets. The event will include keynote speakers, local KW startups, and a live test of our levitation system. Our first official keynote speaker is Tim Jackson, President and CEO of SHAD.
RSVP to our Facebook event to keep up with more announcements and details to come.
- Kelsey Dawson, Kickstarter Director of Team Waterloop
new school year, new team:
September 30, 2016
Qualifying to the second round of the competition, several members of our team travelled to Texas, in January 2016, to showcase our design to a panel of judges. With over 1200+ teams to begin with, only about six hundred made it to this event. Waterloop landed a spot in the top twenty two teams of the overall thirty one qualifying to the third round, being held in California. Since then, our team has received quite a bit of recognition, for example, articles featured in Time, Huffpost Business, The Record, and ITBusiness. We are extremely thankful for all supporters and sponsors that have contributed to this project. Success would not be possible without you.
Each term our team is affected by Waterloo’s renowned co-op program. Students are placed in various cities, which means having to recruit and mentor fresh minds. After a couple weeks of recruitment, the team is ready to take on new adventures and the next four months leading to California. Currently our team consists of over a hundred students, ranging from first to fifth year, and varying in disciplines. This 100+ team is broken into two main teams, the technical and administrative team. Both are working extremely hard to achieve success by supporting when necessary and creating a positive atmosphere to work in. If it’s overcoming a pod design obstacle or deciding which picture to post on social media, teamwork is always present.
With the deadline extension from August 2016 to January 2017, our team is taking this opportunity to improve our design and make it faster and more light weight.
Looking ahead, we have a lot in store including testing and building our prototype, launching a Kickstarter campaign and attending special events.
Stay tuned for more updates and blogs coming soon!
- Natalia Zigante, Social Media Lead