Mark Rober already served the citizens of planet Earth by helping build the Curiosity rover currently roaming Mars. Now add holiday hero to his engineering credentials.
The ex-NASA engineer designed a series of revenge-bait packages that looked like HomePods — but showered unsuspecting thieves with glitter and deadly doses of fart spray.
Rober, whose glitter-fart bomb with smartphone cameras fit neatly in a HomePod box, posted his latest engineering marvel on YouTube.
He came up with the genius prank after falling victim to a porch pirate earlier this year who swiped a package from him. Although his doorbell camera recorded the theft, police told him they could do little to track down the robber.
Glitter bomb plot in motion
So Rober spent the next six months plotting his revenge. His video comes in time for the Christmas holiday, when online shopping goes nuts and opportunistic thefts tend to spike.
In addition to hardware currently on Mars, Rober also designed a moving dartboard that shifts when a dart is thrown to guarantee a bullseye. “If anyone was going to make a revenge-bait package and over-engineer the crap out of it, it was going to be me,” Rober says during his 11-minute video.
Inside the HomePod box, Rober stashed a housing he made to hold a bowl of glitter. It starts spinning when the thief opens the box. Also hidden in the housing: four LG smartphones with cameras rolling to record the event.
Before the phones could be discovered, a touch of the package activated a mechanism that dispatched the fart spray. Rober figured the foul scent would prompt a thief to toss the package before they found the phones.
Even if he could never retrieve a package, Rober rigged the device to upload footage to the cloud so he could see what happened.
Rober punked a few porch pirates. And judging by the nearly 14 million views of his video after just a day on YouTube, he could give Santa Claus competition in a Christmas popularity contest.