WATCH: Ex-NASA engineer makes glittery, stinky trap to prank thieves
One former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) engineer-turned-YouTube personality created a state of the art glitter bomb trap that also emits a fart smell to combat package thieves.
Mark Rober, who worked on the Curiosity rover now on Mars, has had enough of porch pirates. In a bid to teach the thieves a lesson, he decided to work on an “over-engineered revenge bait package” as seen via YouTube on Dec. 17.
His video, which had gone viral, has garnered over 47 million views and 130,000 comments, as of this writing.
Rober and his friend Sean spent six months building the perfect trap. Inside a rectangular white box lies a custom-printed circuit board which has a built-in accelerometer; when jostled, it checks the GPS signal of the trap.
If the package is moved from Rober’s porch, the circuit board sends a signal to the four phones, situated in all sides of the box, to wake up and start filming the thief. Nestled inside is also a small can of fart spray operated by a small motor that sprays it five times every 30 seconds, until the package is thrown away by the pirate porch.
In case the thieves decide to keep the package for themselves and Rober cannot recover the phones, the former NASA engineer said the phones are equipped with LTE data plans. This means the four phones upload the footage to the cloud, allowing Rober to still see the thieves’ reaction to the trap.
The pièce de résistance of the package, however, is the cup on top of the box which has a motor underneath. When one loads the cup with glitters, the motor spins fast, spreading the glitter in all directions.
To make the trap more realistic, Rober and Sean added a shrink wrap as well as a delivery label. If the thieves look close enough, they will notice that the package came from Rober’s childhood hero and inspiration, “Home Alone” film character Kevin McCallister.
He then put the trap into the test, sharing the amusing reactions he got from thieves. Unfortunately, he doubted the veracity of two of the five reactions — he found out the “thieves” were actually acquaintances of the person helping him test the package. He decided then to remove the two footages from the video.
“This is my first ever video with some kind of ‘prank’ and like I mentioned in the video, it’s pretty removed from my comfort zone and I should have done more,” Rober said. “I’m especially gutted because so much thought, time, money and effort went into building the device and I hope this doesn’t just taint the entire effort as ‘fake.'” JB
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