Students design levitating pod for Hyperloop contest that could revolutionize the future of transportation


Brandon Lippolis, DMSB'17, is the business lead for OpenLoop, a Northeastern team vying for a win in the 2016 Elon Musk SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition. Photo by Matthew Modoono.

Brandon Lippolis, DMSB’17, is one of nine undergraduate Northeastern University students, all from different interdisciplinary backgrounds, who make up team OpenLoop, a contender in Elon Musk’s SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition attempting to conceptualize and build a scaled version of the fast-as-sound transportation system.

The competition, launched last year by Musk, aims to foster creative energy and teamwork to develop a new mode of travel, one that enables passengers and cargo to arrive at destinations quicker than ever before.

Lippolis, the business lead for OpenLoop, oversees purchasing, sponsorships, and fundraising for the group, totaling $150,000.

Student backgrounds on OpenLoop range from business to mechanical engineering and computer science.

As a self-proclaimed “part-time engineer now”, Lippolis and his team exemplify Northeastern’s synergy between academic backgrounds, splitting the work based on each area of relative expertise to create a tangible product. The experience has lead him to change his future professional track from investment to the business side of organization in technology.

“I’ve learned a lot about basic engi­neering prin­ci­ples and how engi­neers think,” said Lippolis. Previously declared as a future investment professional, Lippolis now hopes to work on the business side of technology ventures.

OpenLoop was selected as one of 30 finalists in January to continue into the testing phase of the competition, which will be held this fall in Hawthorne, California.

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