NEW PALTZ — The State University of New York at New Paltz will host about 100 Hudson Valley middle-school students and teachers at the College’s Second Annual Magnetic Levitation Contest on Friday, April 26.

Using the concept behind magnetic levitation (maglev) transportation, which uses magnetic forces to suspend a vehicle on an air cushion above a guideway, science and technology students from Cornwall, Mahopac, Red Hook, and Wallkill have built maglev vehicles of their own design while studying alternative methods of transportation.

The students will test their maglev vehicles, built to meet specification requirements in one of four categories of competition, on an 18-foot track or guideway in the College’s Student Union Building.

The design categories are:

  • Appearance
  • Electrified Track
  • Self-Propelled
  • Wind-Powered

An actual maglev train glides silently, lifted by a magnetic field a few inches above a guideway. Revolutionary in design, it can travel at speeds approaching 300 miles per hour — much faster than the 185 miles- per-hour maximum of current high-speed trains.

The contest, organized by Brett Gehrke, technology teacher at Wallkill Middle School, in conjunction with the College’s Electrical Engineering Department, is sponsored by the New York State Technology Education Association. Demonstrations and test runs will begin at 10 a.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room. An awards ceremony is scheduled for 12:30.