It's been called a cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table ... and that's about accurate. The Hyperloop is a forward thinking transportation technology that could allow people to travel from New York to to Los Angeles in 45 minutes!
As incredible as it sounds, the Hyperloop technology is an update of prototypes from the early 1990s. It's similar to the old-school pneumatic tube systems that suck your bank deposit up and to the teller ... except this will be going MUCH farther distances, and carrying live human beings. The huge tubes would be powered by a combination of vacuum and maglev power, which means there's no friction, no wind, and it can go super fast.
Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, became interested in the Hyperloop as an alternative to other more expensive and less-fast transportation projects being planned in the U.S. Early concepts describe a maglev tube track that shoots capsules, designed to hold six people at a time, and traveling at speeds of 6,500 km/hr (~4,040 miles/hr).
Yeah, that's pretty fast.
If you're like me, then you might wonder about passenger comfort. The really fast feeling of a roller coaster is exhilarating for a bit, but no one wants that butterflies-in-stomach, rush for much longer than a few minutes (and this is way faster than roller coasters, which usually top out at around 150 miles/hr). That brings me to the most amazing part of this technology. It claims to produce just 1G of force, about that of a fast-moving highway car, and the lack of friction allows passengers to not feel it at all.
This video describes all that with some nice animation.
In this second video, Musk talks about his vision for the super rapid transit system connecting New York to Los Angeles: