It’s been two years since Google announced the 10^100 project, which was meant to pair up millions in funds with world-changing ideas. This Friday saw five winners being announced, and that is five out of 150,000 submissions.
The strange thing is that among the five is a proposition by a company named Shweeb, for a monorail transport system powered by people pedaling away on recumbent bicycle gears, suspended in little single person sized clear capsules suspended several stories above the city below.
But isn’t the advantage of bicycles the ease with which you can maneuver to your destination? Any destination. And it’s a personal thing, taking a load off the public transport system, whereas the Shweeb idea is bound to require a small army of attendants helping people get in and out of the capsules.
As for the capsules themselves, you think it’ll take how many days for these things to acquire the unholy stench of sun-boiled sweat? Not days, hours. The first few rides and it’s over and done with – not a chance anyone is getting in after that.
And the strictly mathematical usefulness of the system? If one gear breaks, if one ankle gets sprained, the whole things grinds down to a halt. Because unlike bicycles, monorails pods can’t pass each other. If one fails, they’re all stuck.
Luckily, the other winners are nonprofit organizations for government transparency, free worldwide online education, mathematics and student-driven robotics.