UIUC Scale Hyperloop Progress Reaches the Media

Over a year after finishing my MechSE senior design team’s work on a scale hyperloop at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the continued work by another senior design team has started to get international attention for their progress. Shown above, they successfully assembled and tested the tubular linear induction motor that we only had in pieces when we left. It’s a very cool demonstration of hard work and science, so props to this year’s team!

Here are a few quotes from around the internet:

Motherboard – Vice

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop gets people excited. Promise the ability to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than an hour, and you’re going to get people salivating. But for as much as we’ve heard about it, we’ve had scarcely little to see—until a team of students at the University of Illinois decided to build their very own miniature hyperloop.


Business Insider

And now we learn that the mechanical engineering students at the University of Illinois have been working on a Hyperloop prototype for the last two years.

While the functioning model is pretty impressive, the students’ prototype did stray a bit from Musk’s original design.

“We had to make some changes with respect to the white paper because with the tools that they have and the time that they have they cannot do extremely complicated machining,” said Carlos Pantano-Rubino, the mechanical engineering professor who oversaw the project.

More students will continue to work on the project next year and continue to make improvements, Pantano-Rubino said.

“Small steps is the way to go. That is how engineers learn to build complicated things. Nobody just learns to build complicated things the first time,” he said.


Popular Science

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop is an idea as ambitious as it is fantastical. A train that travels at 760 mph through a pressurized tube is a hard sell, even with it gracing the latest cover of *Popular Science magazine. So it’s pretty cool to see a real, working version — albeit in miniature. Engineering students at the University of Illinois recently made their very own, tiny Hyperloop model (1:24 scale) as part of a senior design project, Motherboard reports.



“Elon Musk’s forward-thinking Hyperloop design for rapid human transport is still a long way from reality, but a group of engineering students from the University of Illinois have managed to create a functional model at 1:24 scale. It won’t get you from LA to San Francisco in under an hour, but it’s still pretty cool.”


Daily Mail

A US design team has managed to create a functional model at 1:24 scale – although this version will only travel at at 160 mph (260km/h) if it were to be scaled up. The University of Illinois’ miniature prototype sends small pods, 6cm in diameter, whizzing through a metal tube. As well as its tiny size, it has some crucial differences to Elon Musk’s original design…Despite the discrepancies, the prototype shows that the radical concept could someday be made a reality.



A group of students have unveiled the product of two years’ labor — a working model of the futuristic Hyperloop transport system…The project uses partially pressurized tubes which sends small pods through an oval loop in order to test out the key components of Musk’s idea. However, for the sake of simplicity, the students did have to compromise on some parts and were only able to reach 3m/s, which if scaled up, amounts to approximately 160mph — far less than Musk’s proposed 760mph. In any case, the prototype does show the idea has merit and can be taken forward by the next generation of students.


UI 1
Photo: Andrew Horton

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