All posts by Daniel Davies

Hyperloop One wants ultra high-speed tube travel to be a reality, today it’s testing its tech

Hyperloop One, the company cofounded by Brogan BamBrogan to speed passengers between two points in interconnected tubes, will today conduct a propulsion open-air test in North Las Vegas.

This historic milestone will be the first of many full-scale tests by Hyperloop One as the company attempts to eliminate the barriers of time and distance.

Prior to the test the company announced that it has already raised $80 million in venture capital financing, and formed a number of key partnerships with a global group of established transportation, engineering and infrastructure firms.

“The overwhelming response we’ve had already confirms what we’ve always known, that Hyperloop One is at the forefront of a movement to solve one of the planet’s most pressing problems,” said Hyperloop One cofounder and executive chairman Shervin Pishevar.

“The brightest minds are coming together at the right time to eliminate the distances and borders that separate economies and cultures.”


Images courtesy of Neil Wood/ Hyperloop One

In addition to the first propulsion open-air test, Hyperloop One is also launching the Hyperloop One Global Challenge which aims to find individuals, companies and governments who want to develop competitive proposals for using the first hyperloop shuttles.

Hyperloop One has said that it will provide access to its expertise and ecosystem to help develop these concepts and will promote ideas that best demonstrate the transformative power of hyperloop and are most likely to gain government, financial and regulatory support.

Connekt Netherlands, an independent network working to improve mobility in the Netherlands in a sustainable manner, have announced a Dutch National Hyperloop Competition with the objective of finding a national winner that will feed into Hyperloop One’s larger competition.

“We are very pleased to announce that Connekt will run a Dutch National Hyperloop competition as a part of the Hyperloop One Global Challenge,” said managing director of Connekt Netherlands, Nico Anten.

“Our goal is to produce a nationally-coordinated, Government-backed, Dutch entry to the challenge that will effectively showcase the Netherlands as one of the smartest logistics hub and passenger transporters in the world.”


Hyperloop One has said that today’s test is just the first step on the road towards debuting a full-scale system later this year.

The company praised the State of Nevada for seeing the potential in hyperloop technology and for allowing Hyperloop One to quickly develop a test site in North Las Vegas.

“We are proud to show off our progress today and look forward to meeting more milestones on our way to debuting a full-scale system later this year. No one comes close to our progress in commercializing this revolutionary transportation system,” said Hyperloop One cofounder, Brogan BamBrogan.

“We believe that Hyperloop One will develop the next mode of transportation while also providing a significant revenue stream and job opportunities for Nevadans,” added Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval.

Virtual reality used to put paranoid patients into the situations they fear most

Oxford University researchers have used virtual reality simulations to teach patients with severe paranoia that the situations they fear most are actually safe.

The study, funded by the Medical Research Council, wanted to test whether patients could relearn that situations were safe, by experiencing them first hand.

Patients were also encouraged to stop using defence behaviours such as reducing eye contact or limiting social interactions.

“Paranoia all too often leads to isolation, unhappiness, and profound distress. But the exceptionally positive immediate results for the patients in this study show a new route forward in treatment. In just a thirty minute session, those who used the right psychological techniques showed major reductions in paranoia,” said the study’s head researcher, Professor Daniel Freeman.

“It’s not easy work for patients, since lowering defences takes courage. But as they relearned that being around other people was safe we saw their paranoia begin to melt away. They were then able to go into real social situations and cope far better. This has the potential to be transformative.”

Thirty patients attending treatment services at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust were split into two groups.

While half the group were allowed to maintain some of their defence behaviours, the other half were encouraged to drop their defences completely and try to learn that they were safe by approaching the virtual characters and interacting with them.

“There is growing evidence that psychological treatments can have a major beneficial impact on the lives of people suffering from psychosis,” said study team member, Professor David Clark.

“Virtual reality assisted treatment has great potential because, as the price of the equipment makes it more accessible, much treatment could be delivered in people’s homes.”


Images courtesy of OCAP University of Oxford

Patients who fully tested out their fears in virtual reality by lowering their defences completely showed very substantial reductions in their paranoid delusions.

After the virtual reality therapy session, over 50% of these patients no longer had severe paranoia at the end of the test day, compared with the 20% of patients who no longer exhibited signs of severe paranoia having maintained some of their defences.

“Virtual reality is proving extremely effective in the assessment and treatment of mental health problems. This study shows the potential of its application to a major psychiatric problem. There is a lot of work to do be done in testing the approach in treating delusions but this study shows a new way forward,” said head of Neurosciences and Mental Health at the Medical Research Council, Dr Kathryn Adcock.

The researchers’ findings are available in the British Journal of Psychiatry.