The idea of a rogue, genius inventor working outside the confines of a government or corporate lab, creating a new technology that could potentially change the world, is certainly tantalising. Who knows: Guido Fetta could be the next Tesla, and his QDrive could very well revolutionise space travel. Or it could be an idea lacking a sound scientific basis.
What looks like nothing more than a hubcap retrieved from the side of the road, is supposedly the secret to what makes the QDrive engine produce large quantities of thrust, with a minimal amount of input energy. The scientific theories, principles and formulas behind how it works are outlined on the Cannae LLC website. And I encourage you to spend as much time as you need pouring through the abstracts and documents to grasp the concept.
But for those of you without the necessary patience or attention span, the QDrive is essentially a sealed resonating cavity to which an electrical current is applied. The current flows around the inside of the cavity, creating electromagnetic waves and Lorentz forces acting on its upper and lower plates. Normally these forces average and balance out. However, the bottom plate on the QDrive features 60 identical slots running around its perimeter that serve to change the vector direction of the forces on that side. Resulting in an imbalance, and an excess of force, on the top plate. This is of course a gross summation of the science behind the QDrive, but it should give you a general idea of how it produces thrust without burning a drop of fuel.
If it works as Guido and his calculations say it does, the QDrive could be a huge leap forward for space travel, potentially on an intergalactic scale. But even to novice physicists like ourselves, there are reasons for scepticism. In their slick introduction videos Guido points out that the science occasionally deviates from standard physics. And the oft referenced Appendices section of their site is a ghost town. As for the all important experimental proof? Earlier in the year they conducted a handful of real world tests which yielded results that were about 40 per cent off what their theoretical models had predicted. But those results have yet to be published in a scientific paper, or even provided as downloadable data sheets for outside examination.
It also appears that Guido has put a lot of time and money into his company's website and branding, with the About section of their site crediting more designers than scientists. But we also understand that if you're looking for more funding to further develop a product or an idea, you have to do everything you can to convince potential investors that you're legit. So while our knee jerk reaction is to point a finger at the QDrive and shout "Snake Oil!" The science loving geeks inside all of us are secretly hoping Guido Fetta turns out to be a real-life Zefram Cochrane, bringing us one step closer to bona fide warp drives. [QDrive via BoingBoing via House Industries]