rLoop Victory

We did it, we said we were going to win and we did. We built something so technologically beautiful that Elon Musk himself crowned it the most innovative of them all.

I am proud to have served on a team where the exact combination of passionate people was key to achieving our success. Every ounce of effort mattered, every single nut tightened, every single wire connected, every word spoken. Thank you all for standing beside me through it all. You are all amazing, and no matter how little you came in with, I hope working together helped you learn, and set yourselves up for a better future.

I am leaving this monument in my timeline. I invite my friends to leave a note on this monument, and feel free to put some links to yourself (LinkedIn, etc), write about your own contributions and experiences at rLoop. Later, I can look back, reflect, while thinking of all the people who were there with me.

What is rLoop

We are a team of crazy people who worked on a crazy project for crazy reasons. We are a group of people from around the world who worked together to build the world’s best hyperloop pod.

We are rLoop!

We built a 1/3rd scale hyperloop pod for the SpaceX Hyperloop Competition. The rPod is a magnificent machine that flies on magnets, travel at almost 300MPH, while carrying one passenger. Its body is a small scale homebrew aircraft frame encased in custom molded fiberglass mounted on a complex aluminum undercarriage.

Its heart is two Li-poly battery packs (hand assembled cell by cell, with CNC’ed bus bars, custom BMS circuitry, and 500+ temperature sensors) with the equivalent energy of 1.3KG of TNT (yes we calculated that). Its brain is a network of custom designed circuits running on the Ti RM48 family of MCUs to perform flight control and power management.


January 29 2017 was the date when SpaceX held the final testing and judging of all competitors. This whole week was the first time any one of us could see what the other teams have been building, and it was clear that we went above and beyond. We actually built a pod that can fit a person inside and have air for him to breath, nobody else was able to accomplish that feat. We built an active hovering platform with ability to provide both forward and reverse thrust. We have a control system that is entirely our own without resorting to Arduino or Labview. Every square inch of our pod is optimized for aerodynamics and mass. This is the pod that actually impressed SpaceX enough for them to bring over their big boss to see.

What stopped us from entering the tube was simply luck and time. I know how hard I worked for rPod and I can see how much effort my teammates put in as well. We pushed ourselves beyond our limits to get this far. What we saw were other pods with a quarter of our complexity roll down the tube at a quarter of the speed we could’ve flown at. That’s ok, because our prize is the pride we feel when we see what we’ve achieved and knowing we never lost our vision of a true hyperloop pod.


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Thank you all ~ Frank

17 thoughts on “rLoop Victory

  1. Edward Chan

    Thank you Frank! I have learned so much from you, and we have spent the last 4 months together almost every single night. Crazy, we are!

  2. Alex Gaesser

    Working on this project was the most amazing experience of my life. I have learned so much about so many different things – I am not the same person I was when I began this endeavor. Frank – I learned more from you than you possibly know, and it’s things like this blog that set you apart from many people. Thank you so much.

  3. Matt Stofleth

    rLoop came to me at a difficult time in my personal life. It was the support and mentorship from people like you that propelled me and this team forward into accomplishing what we have today. Your patience and sense of humor are needed for projects like this and for newbies like me to feel right at home. Thank you for showing me what’s possible of humans, Frank!

  4. Nemi McCarter-Ribakoff

    I learned more from the 5 months i spent on this project than my entire computer science program. If i had to describe the pod in one word, i think “crazy” is pretty good.

    I have never before been in a group with such passionate, kind, and brilliant people. I’m still surprised you guys let me anywhere near the pod. It has not always been fun, but it has truly been great.

    Thank you Frank, not only for all your hard work, but for documenting our experience with this. I’ve been kicking myself for a few days for using snapchat as my primary form of rLoop documentation.

    I wonder how often strangers come together to build something, or if it is normal and sane to throw away our own work as often as we did. I wonder what else we’re capable of (*Pod!!).

    The world might forget us, but everyone who’s seen it knows we have something here.


  5. Paul Le Henaff

    I’ll always remember landing in the USA for the first time and seeing you holding a sign with the word “@mightyboat” written in sharpie.

    That surreal moment where the Internet meets reality.

    Crazy is certainly the right word for what we have achieved. So many people from different time zones putting in endless hours into this project. It was the most inspirational experience of my life seeing all these people coming together.

    I learnt a great deal about software and collaboration.

    It’s hard to believe it’s over.

    I can’t wait to see what else we can achieve!

  6. Grady Hofstetter

    This project has been, hands down, the greatest learning experience of my life. I was surrounded by experts in their field and other students eager to learn. All I had to do was soak everything in. I am confident that you, Frank, will move on to do great things. All I can hope for is that when you need an extra set of hands or are willing to teach your expertise, you shoot me a call.

    Here is to rLoop!

  7. Kevin Le

    Looking back on this now in April, I’d like to thank you Frank for all the hard work you’ve put into the rloop pod. I’m glad I got to meet you during the summer time when rloop was first moving into the TE building. I wish you all the best and can’t wait to see where we’re all at in the future! #pipedreams

  8. Jonathan Dweck

    Thank you for capturing all of this Frank! You truly told the story of rLoop! These past 6 months have been chock full of knowledge, passion, dedication, and innovation. I am so excited for the future of rLoop and feel so grateful to be a part of such an amazing team!

  9. Ryan Lei

    It has been an awesome experience working with rLoop. The skills that I have developed over the from this community has just been exponential. I’m grateful to be apart of this once in a life time innovative opportunity. Able to see from design to build was breath taking. Also, working with you Frank was a shocking experience! But most importantly working with the rLoop team made me grew as an individual. Given the opportunity to work with different people across the country in different time zone was quite the experience. No matter who we are or where we are from, we all came with one intention. To build a scalable hyperloop prototype pod, or in other words, rpod (our pod).

  10. David Murakami

    Hey Frank, thanks for linking me to this site! You guys really should have had a bigger documentary group following you around, maybe a dedicated bbc team 24/7 or maybe werner herzog, it’s really a great story. Your pics show that indeed it actually happened. The team put in a great effort and you in particular played a central role. Who would you have play you in the movie dramatization? Projects like these are a big deal and don’t come around very frequently, I’m happy I was able to be part of it. Congrats to the everyone on the award!

  11. whiplash

    Hey Frank!

    Working with you has been one of the life changing experience for me. Your ability to take ideas without bias and analyze them is marvelous. You have supported me a lot in times of need. To be honest, it wouldn’t be possible without you. You have done inhumane amount of work and I’m really proud to have worked with you in this endeavor. I am very sure this won’t be the last time we will work together. I always miss your nuggets of humor everyday. You’re a legend!


  12. Daniel Perkins

    Hey bud, hope everything is going good. I just wanted to let you know, you are by far one of the best people I’ve ever worked with ( I’ve worked with over a few hundred people). You are an amazing guy with a lot of crucial skills to technology. I really hope you have a great day, and even a better year. I’d really like to work with you in the future, as our skills compliment each other well. Keep your head up man, I wish you all the best in everything, please hit me up whenever you need some help in the more physical realm, even if it has to do with your personal car. Hope everything is good brother.

  13. Denis Tudor

    Hey, Frank!

    We worked together a whole summer in the same team. Mate, you have done a great job! Hope to see you again this summer! I learned a lot of things from you. It was my pleasure to hangout with you, if you remember (with the rest of the guys 🙂 ). To do not forget: you gave me rides for my home every night.

    Thank you, brother!

    P.S: Miss you!

  14. Sean Marquez

    Working with the rLoop team has been both an honor and a pleasure!
    Everyone I’ve worked with on the team so far has been very passionate, friendly, talented, and dedicated to this project. It was definitely a surreal experience getting to actually meet my teammates in-person from literally 14 different countries! Hats off to Tom and Brent for recruiting the internet itself to crowd-source engineer the Hyperloop!

    @Frank Thanks for putting this awesome piece of memorabilia together! Looking forward to working with you on version 2.0 of that Anti-Gravity Generator, and possibly doing more boba, ramen, and karaoke nights 🙂

  15. beltenebros

    It has been an absolute pleasure and honour to work alongside you Frank, my fellow Canadian rLooper! One of the distinct highlights of my life is working alongside you. I hope to continue to call you a collaborator and friend. Look forward to when our paths cross again.


  16. Akagu Clarence

    It has been a thrilling experience of working w/ rLoop on revolutionizing transportation which has given me confidence in myself and hope in humanity to what we can achieve when we conceive in our mind of a common goal and mission, the focus is intense when we collaborate to impact humanity positively. Frank, you are a great man of skill, the aura I get working alongside of you gives me great honor and so I thank you for helping to bring this idea of a hyperloop experience to life. I look forward to working on the hyperloop w/ a team so passionate, committed, talented and together I truly believe that we can change the world! #Servetheloop

  17. Lachlan Grogan

    Frank, it was an absolute wild ride on this project. I (we) can’t thank you enough for the huge amount of skill and effort you put into the project, not to mention the countless hours. Despite the huge challenges we faced you always had a technical solution to the most complex of problems. You were able to engineer solutions that solved some of our challenges without even thinking twice. Best of luck with your future endeavors, I know they will be fruitful for you.


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