A former NASA engineer best known for his work on the Curiosity rover has designed a new, high-speed water delivery device – but this isn’t some kind of next-gen irrigation system, or a way to bring drinkable H20 to third world countries. Rather, it’s a big-ass SuperSoaker.
Specifically, it’s a big-ass SuperSoaker capable of firing streams of water at speeds of up to 272 miles per hour and producing enough force to shatter glass and carve a melon in half, according to The Verge. Not really the sort of thing you’d want your kids to play with, if we’re honest.
The mad genius behind the device is Mark Rober, a nine-year veteran of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California who is no stranger to tweaking toys, as Gizmodo pointed out: last summer, he created “the world’s largest Nerf dart gun,” which could fire foam darts at a top speed of 40 mph. Even that, however, pales in comparison to his latest creation.
Rober’s oversized water gun, which has apparently been certified as the largest ever created by the folks at Guinness, is seven-feet long and can be pressurized to 2,400 PSI. Even though it is far larger and much more powerful than SuperSoakers sold in stores, it still operates in basically the same way, according to The Verge: air (in this case, nitrogen gas) is pressurized and pumped into a water tank, where it is then released in a stream once the trigger is pulled.
While this is clearly no child’s toy, Rober has posted a parts list and a set of instructions online for enterprising men and women who may want to try and replicate his feat. However, using the pressurized nitrogen can be dangerous, and since Rober is a trained engineer and you (probably) aren’t, you may want to leave the creation of comically-oversized and overpowered child’s toys to the professionals.
Meet the man responsible – and some of his other inventions
Rober, who graduated from Brigham Young University with a mechanical engineering degree and went on to earn a Master’s degree from the University of Southern California, helped design and develop hardware for several NASA projects before leaving the agency back in 2014.
While still working at NASA, Rober launched a costume company called Digital Dudz working in his spare time. Digital Dudz became a massive success, thanks largely to videos he posted on YouTube, and he went on to earn a reported $250,000 in just three weeks. Rober eventually sold the company to UK-based costume-maker Morphsuits. He worked for Morphsuits for two years before departing and returning to his engineering roots.
In addition to the massive SuperSoaker and the oversized Nerf gun (which was capable of firing foam darts more than 130 yards and was also certified as a Guinness record), Rober has created a series of other unique items that he has featured in videos, including a motion-sensing dart board that automatically changes positions in order to guarantee a bull’s-eye with every throw.
That device, Gizmodo explained, took Rober three years to create and uses six motion-tracking cameras to operate. It uses regular darts, and once a person fires one towards the target, it takes only 200 milliseconds for computers to predict the trajectory of the throw and another 200 for the dart board’s motors to move it into the correct position. The board can reportedly reposition itself up to 100 times before impact, virtually guaranteeing a perfect result.
Image credit: Screen capture/Mark Rober/YouTube