UW Hyperloop team unveils purple pod racer

Hyperloop pod racer
The UW Hyperloop team’s sleek pod racer is unveiled at an Eastlake lab building amid the glow of purple spotlights. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

The University of Washington’s Hyperloop team showed off its sleek pod racer and let fans take a peek under the carbon composite hood, one week before a national competition in California.

For the team’s roughly 35 students, the Jan. 19 unveiling at the GloCal Composites Lab in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood was an opportunity to celebrate the purple-tinted fruits of their labor.

“Everyone is committed to being a part of something bigger than themselves, grander than the team itself, and ultimately as a part of history as we think about the next mode of transportation,” UW engineering student David Coven, one of the team’s leaders, told the gathering of students and faculty, guests and journalists.

In its grandest form, the Hyperloop concept calls for shooting passenger pods through tubes at near-supersonic speeds. SpaceX founder Elon Musk came up with the idea in 2013 as a means of traveling between San Francisco and Los Angeles in about a half-hour.

Musk is leaving the commercialization of the concept to others, but in the meantime, SpaceX is sponsoring a college competition for scaled-down models of the pods. Coven said he and other students at UW jumped at the opportunity.

“We couldn’t help ourselves,” he said.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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