Redditors Take Home Innovation Award at SpaceX’s Hyperloop Competition
A flurry of comments followed, culminating in the creation of a new community called “Reddit Loop,” where an initial group of 54 users signed up to help design a prototype for a pod capable of safely transporting a human passenger through a vacuum-sealed hyperloop tube.

Unlike the predominantly university-based teams that had already begun work on their designs, however, rLoop started with some significant disadvantages: their team was unsponsored, they lacked organization, and their members were strangers from the internet from different countries, different time zones, different work schedules, and very different professional backgrounds.

Needless to say, their first attempt at meeting as a collective was chaotic. But they got organized quickly, using their Reddit community (r/rLoop) to discuss how they could make their team more efficient.

While many university teams had been working together in a campus environment, with corporate sponsors and easy access to teammates, rLoop had no sponsors at the time, and for most people on the team, Design Weekend was the first opportunity they had to meet face to face.

After gathering volunteers from r/SpaceX, r/engineering, and other Reddit communities, they picked team leaders by upvoting and downvoting nominees. Soon, they added Slack, Trello, Autodesk, and Google Hangouts to their workflow. Within a few short weeks, rLoop was a well-oiled machine, channeling the work of members from India, Canada, Poland, and a dozen other countries into a collaborative pod design upon which they made constant improvements.

Led by Canadian Brent Lessard (the team’s project manager, a mechanical engineer with a background in smart roof technology) and Belgian-born Tom Lambot (the team’s lead engineer, with a background in rocket propulsion at NASA Ames), rLoop advanced their design by segmenting roles and allowing team members to come and go as they pleased.

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“Everybody has a small part to play. The Borgs are very bad people—I want to say for the record—because they kill a lot of people. But I think it’s a very good analogy. Their goal was to assimilate the whole universe; our goal is to build a hyperloop. And we have a far lower body”

Steve Jobs

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