Now in the last stage of the Hyperloop Pod Competition, the University of Waterloo team Waterloop started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to build their design entry for the SpaceX competition and reached their $20,000 goal only days later.

Hyperloop was first conceptualized by Elon Musk of SpaceX in 2013 as a form of high-speed travel vehicle. SpaceX announced a contest in 2015 for university students to design the pod, which is the “carriage” of the hyperloop system.

More than 120 teams were reviewed and judged at the Texas A&M meeting held from Jan. 29-30, 2016. Those teams included MIT, University of Toronto, and even international teams such as the Technical University of Munich. Only 22 teams — including the Waterloop team — moved on to the finals. The teams have until January 2017, when final testing in SpaceX headquarters in California is scheduled.

Led by UW student Nicholas Achkarian, Waterloop is now in the final round and is seeking funding to build their prototype — the Goose I pod.

“After two rounds of elimination, we are finally building a physical pod that is going to be taken to California, and it’s going to be tested against 21 other teams,” said Waterloop director of marketing and architectural design Montgomery De Luna.

The Waterloop team is currently focused on building the prototype from a concept. “We have refined our designs from the last round of elimination, and it’s really all systems go on production,” said De Luna. “So it’s all about sourcing parts and taking this idea from a concept to a working prototype.”

Waterloop launched their Kickstarter at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 19 during an event at EC5. According to De Luna, the aim of the Kickstarter was to raise $20,000 to fund parts for the pod. “We did work really hard to work on trying to make some pretty cool T-shirts and posters and badges and other rewards that people would like. And even if you can’t really donate … keep up with us, share our stuff because that is another great way of helping us out.”

Waterloop is enthusiastic about the Kickstarter and building their Hyperloop. “It’s a project that so many people are excited about, so I really hope we [meet out goal] because that means we can deliver our pod,” De Luna said. “If we hit $20K, we still need to supplement that with sponsorship, but we will have all the funds we need to follow through with our designs.”

The Kickstarter campaign already reached its goal as of press time. The Waterloop Kickstarter will be open for additional funding until Nov. 18.


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