VELA (VCU Electromagnetic Launch Apparatus) was a 2-stage high voltage and high current device designed to propel an aluminum slug under Lorentz forces. The device was akin to a rail gun.
VELA utilized a pneumatic injection system to propel a slug onto conductive rails. The slug contacting the rails would act like a switch and allow current to flow from a capacitor bank (450V, 1.8kJ). This created a Lorentz force, and further increased the speed of the slug. Upon exiting the first rail stage the slug passed over Teflon insulator rails before making contact with a second powered rail stage. The second powered rail stage drew from a second capacitor bank of the same size in order to further increase exit velocity of our slug. The powered rails were staged in order to facilitate more control over exit velocity.
All machining was done in house, with the exception of an initial cut of the G10 Garolite which required a high powered water jet. Project funding was provided through the generous contributions of the School of Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a grant from the Mark A. Sternheimer award fund.
Flick-It! was a Smart Light-bulb Adapter submitted to the Venture Creation Competition (hosted by the VCU da Vinci Center at Virginia Commonwealth University http://www.davincicenter.vcu.edu/programs/vcc/).
The adapter would act as an interface between a light bulb and a light socket, providing wireless capabilities to control the on and off function of the light by means of Wi-Fi communication. Additionally, users can "Flick" the traditional light switch off and then back on to toggle the light bulb on and off. This allows the adapter to be powered at all times, while maintaining light switch compatibility.
It's not always about finding a way to keep the current in place forever. Sometimes you have to build a foundation just long enough to facilitate further developments.