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Riderwood Resident Phillip Studer Holds the MagLev "Dream Train" Patent

April 23, 2012

Riderwood Resident and NASA Scientist Phillip Studer  Holds the MagLev "Dream Train" Patent; an Industrial Robots Patent Imminent
SILVER SPRING, MD (April 23, 2012) -- The MagLev, long-nosed, high-speed train slides noiselessly into the station with no brakes squealing, wheels rumbling, or nose wrinkling from engine effluvia. Passengers saunter forth, to the streets or the baggage cars, ready for the mission at hand. The restful trip, quicker and more accessible than airlines, provided wide seats, good snacks, and electronics of all kinds.  Riding on air, or just about. Magnetic levitation is a new form of transportation.
Add to that a clean bill of health from the "green" committee and you have a 21st Century innovation to commuter transport that one could only dream about. In this case it is the MagLev dream, the passionate investigation of Riderwood retirement community resident Phillip Studer.  It is a dream about high-tech super magnets and rare earths.
As a NASA scientist and holder of several linear motor and MagLev patents that are the heart of the new system, Studer has teamed up with others to realize, by mid-century, an improved form of "short-haul" transportation, the term for that difficult between-city distances, where an airliner can barely get to altitude before it must descend, wasting fuel and time.
Studer's work began after the Army, as a young man entering a busy college to become an engineer. He was counseled to begin a physics major to stay in the school of his choice. The mixture of engineering and physics work led to to NASA's prestigious "Inventor of the Year" award in 1986.
Studer first needed to put food on the table, so he began a job at Hamilton Watch, which accidentally put the beginning element in place. A watch maker produced the first electrically powered watch. The break-through was a powerful tiny wind-up motor using a new ultra-strong magnet made from some rare earths. Rare earths are chemical elements found in the Earth's crust but are not usually in concentrated form and therefore are difficult to exploit.
He found his niche at Goddard Space Center. There, his studies of the rare earths and the unique ability of these elements to provide reliable, high-strength, malleable and formable magnets furnished satellites with motors that ceaselessly performed in space. An interesting civilian use was in the international HAM (amateur radio) satellite, which is still orbiting the earth and saving lives.
Universities, in their studies of the rare earths, led the investigation of a further development to magnetic levitation; where opposite poles of this strong magnet provided an air separation useful enough to support weights, the yin and yang of a railroad car and the metal track.  The car actually floated rather than riding on wheels. There was less friction, less energy used, and it was clean.
Through it all, Goddard's Studer kept using the rare earths' magnets to promote exceptional reliability in space as well as providing power via unique motors that thrived in that harsh environment. Upon retirement, he continued investigation and design in the MagLev field and obtained new patents that gained much recognition. His combining of advanced motors, sensors and levitators caught the interest of an industrialist, and Studer had his foot is in the door.
A working model of the sophisticated levitating train system has been produced. A California company, in collaboration with Studer, has begun development of movement of cargo, a first step to that MagLev between cities dream train.
Studer's genius and persistence will, no doubt,  make the MagLev dream train come true while his inventiveness continues. He has another patent in the work --- this time for industrial robots.