The blog of Xeno, a slightly mad scientist
Some people spend their life watching the tube, but Daryl Oster is spending his trying to get people to travel in one.
With experience that includes farming; marine, aeronautical and mechanical design and certification; and stock-trading, Oster is now trying to engineer the biggest change in transportation since the invention of the car cup holder: Evacuated Tube Travel.
To be fair, Evacuated Tube Travel might be even bigger — Oster is proposing uisng magnetic levitation to send car-sized capsules through giant long vacuum tubes at speeds of up to 4,000 miles per hour.
The passenger vehicle is pressurized and has plenty of air, but moves through the airless tube on a magnetic track and all movement is controlled by manipulating the magnetic forces that are at play between the track and the capsule, according to Discovery.
That means the approximately 8,000-mile trip from Washington, D.C., to Beijing might take two hours, compared to the 14 hours it currently takes, not counting layovers.
And, he claims, the cost for the trip would only be $100.
Some people look at what Oster is proposing and think of the pneumatic tubes used at banks to transport cash and checks to car customers, but Oster says the real inspiration came from the great beyond.
“I was looking at how the moon moves around the Earth so fast and the perpetual motion that exists with all the planets,” Oster told HuffPost Weird News moments before presenting his concept to California state officials in hopes of getting permission to build the first 3-mile track on a state right-of-way.
Oster sees the tubes being routed along current freeway right-of-ways to avoid congestion, but says building above ground will be the most cost-effective solution at first.
“Building across water will be the most expensive part, but even if you go from Washington to Beijing, you only need to build 90 miles of track across the Bering Strait,” he said.
The idea of traveling by capsule may sound claustrophobic, but Oster’s ET3 consortium claims that the transport would provide more room per passenger than airplanes or cars, and TVs could be provided to “provide distraction from negative thoughts,” Gadling reported.
In addition, each tube would be constructed with emergency escape hatches and EMT facilities in case of emergency. Likewise, the braking system would be automatic with multiple backups, unlike, the website points out, the Springfield monorail.
Oster believes ETT is a cheaper alternative to other forms of transportation because it uses lighter, stronger materials. For instance, a 400-pound-capsule can hold up to 800 pounds and says he could get a sample track up in a year that only costs 25 percent of constructing a freeway.
“Also, it will be possible to ship goods and services the size of a single pallet without having to load up a full truck,” Oster said.
Oster and his team are selling licenses for the rights to build the tracks and tubes, but says the ultimate network will need both private and public funding. He also plans to start a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of raising funds for a documentary about ETT. …