Nora Belkhayat
Nora Belkhayat
First Place Winner, Middle School - 2009 Imagine That! Engineering Innovation
The Spit-Baller

description for Artificial Ball and Socket JointImagine it is 2050, and you’ve just arrived in Washington D.C. from Los Angeles after an exhausting 4 hour ride. Air planes have become so expensive because of oil shortage, they are barely ever flown anymore. Your Grandma is telling you that before the spit-baller there used to be the train system, and it would have taken four days to get to D.C. Imagine the spit-baller looking like Image 2. The magLev (magnetic levitation) pod is a National Transportation System, dubbed spit-baller by its most frequent riders. The idea of the spit-baller comes from its round shape, and the way the sphere on the inside seems to be protected by the metal frame.

The spit-baller is a speedy comfortable way to travel. The round, perfectly spherical shape allows for a smooth ride, as well as perfect magnetic balance. In the metal frame there are magnets which are the secret behind the speed. The metal frame is fixed with a magnetic material made of carbon nanotubes. In 2020, advances in nano technology allowed carbon nanotubes to become the most powerful magnet material. Similar to simple magnets in everyday life there is a north pole in the top of the pod, and a south pole in the bottom. The pods travel through underground tunnels with controllable magnets in the ceilings and floors. Because likes repel, there is a cushion of air between the pod and tunnel, giving it a levitating affect. The sphere within the metal frame is made of polycarbonate material. Its qualities of light weight and heat resistance are ideal for the pod. If the pod travels fast, there will be friction and the sphere will heat up. Engineers keep the tunnels vacuum packed to minimize friction heat. Because polycarbonate is light weight, there will be less weight for the magnets to support.

An engineer is a person trained and skilled in the design, construction, and use of engines, machines, or any of various branches of engineering. The engineer who created the pod worked for NASA because in 2012 President Obama gave NASA a budget for a magnetics program. NASA used this budget to create the National Transport System called magLev pods. This engineer worked with a team of engineers to design the way the pod would be propelled through the tunnels, and the system of magnets needed in the tunnels to allow the pod to move.

Some of the Engineering principles that were used would be a stylish, yet simple design that every age would like. Another principle would be to make the spit-baller easy to use. The pod uses today’s simple technology of computerized maps. You enter your destination, and the pod pulls up a map that it can follow automatically through the series of underground tunnels. This feature works like an autopilot.

The spit-baller is a high-tech green way of transportation. It is energy-efficient and less expensive over-all than cars and planes, and petroleum-based transportation methods. Citizens are satisfied with the speed of the product, and appreciate the luxuries the magLev pod has to offer. This new idea of a National Transportation System has revolutionized travel. Image 2 is the source of my idea of the magLev pod.