In New York, 13-year-old student Caroline Crouchley has made some waves with her invention of a more sustainable Hyperloop solution. Crouchley’s idea is to build pneumatic tubes next to existing train tracks, where magnetic shuttles would travel connected via a magnetic arm to trains, allowing pods to travel more than twice as fast as a standard train.
Crouchley won second place in the 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her design. The idea is based on the vacuum system of Hyperloop but is a little more practical with lower implementation hurdles. “It has a simpler design, can be more easily constructed, can utilize the existing footprint of rail right of ways, and is cheaper to build,” says Crouchley. The concept involves a magnetic shuttle inside the tube that is embedded with rare earth magnets. This connects to the train which propels it forward.
“My design can rely on 100% renewable energy, so it eliminates the need for a diesel engine or an electric motor, which makes the train lighter, so it can move faster,” says Croucher. “We are choking our cities with air pollution from trucks and cars,” she says. “We must move in the direction of workable mass transit.”
The barely-teenage girl says that she plans to open source the project to teams of engineers, scientists and universities. While Crouchley declares she is a fan of the Hyperloop, she sees her design as an intermediate step that could be implemented earlier.