Elon Musk's new Hyperloop train was demonstrated on national TV the other day. If you have not seen it yet, here is a YouTube video...
I just wanted to give credit where credit is due. Nobody would listen to Eric Laithwaite back in the 70's when he introduced and pioneered this technology. And this "supposedly new" technology is almost an exact replication of Eric's invention. I did a newsletter on it where you can watch all of Eric's YouTube videos...
I think this Hyperloop should be renamed the Laithwaite Loop!
The basic concept... instead of a traditional linear motor type setup where you have electromagnets in the tracks (rotor) and permanent magnets on the train (stator), the magnetic field (rotor) is now in the train and that magnetic field actually induces a magnetic field in the aluminum tracks (stator). I hope I got that right! Looks like they also have separate magnetic fields for levitation. I'm not sure if Eric's device had the separate levitation system - his was all in one specially wound electromagnet.
So... just in case you missed the important basic concept, I'll try to explain it differently. You see, maglev trains in the past have always had electromagnets in the rail system which required a lot of power to levitate and propel the train. Laithwaite pioneered a system that had all the power only in the train part. The rails are just ordinary aluminum. The electromagnets in the train "induce" a magnetic field in the aluminum tracks instead of having to use a lot of power and electromagnets in the tracks. It's a much smarter system because you don't have to lay down miles and miles of very expensive electromagnetic tracks. And you don't need the long (and expensive) power system to power the tracks either.