Not sure when or how it all started. Reading Elon Musk's 57 page paper on Hyperloop Alpha stirred up a lot of imaginations– in a lot of people. The idea is to mass transport people at 700 mph in a very small steel container, with no windows, in a near vaccuum tube. Which is not unlike how banks whoosh your transactions from outside your car window– only with people instead of paper. While theoretical, the paper did make several good points with regard to the technical and economical feasibility of moving people between San Fran and LA in 30–45 minutes.
But what really got us thinking was the lack of human-centric design. Elon and his engineers baselined passengers be strapped in, à la roller coaster, and seated for the entire trip. Doubt that would work, especially if you just finished a large iced tea. So we started thinking how would we design the Hyperloop?
First off, we measured the baseline cabin (the larger one) and decided it was just too small for people to travel in without having windows. And of course, even with windows, you're still inside a steel tube, so that doesn't work. The answer: Tripscene displays. These OLED panels line the interior of the cabin and can display any of a number of different environmental scenery. The one above shows underwater, but there could be mountains, fields, clouds or even outer space. We also decide to focus on three different cabin designs: first-class (seen at bottom), business-office and coach (seen above). The business class uses an even different version of Tripscene displays. Download the PDF to learn how it works.
Finally, we conceptualized a jukebox which would manipulate the people and cargo capsules in a manner facilitating quick turn-arounds. While certainly not a complete and final design, Fast Co and several other websites picked it up and we did receive bunches of positive feedback.
We created a book (download the PDF) and sent it to Elon Musk for review.