With just three months and $250 and a team of four, students at Olin College of Engineering were able to construct a…wait for it… face-tracking marshmallow cannon called the Confectionery Cannon. For a project in their Principles of Engineering course, these four engineers used the knowledge that they had learned throughout the course, as well as the objectives that the course had set, in order to create their weapon of choice.
Looking at their website that goes along with the project, you can see they have been extremely resourceful. Using acrylic, which is cheaper and easy to laser cut (apparently) as well as scrap aluminum, they created this inexpensive, but electric, complex, face-tracking, auto-reloading marshmallow shooter that can shoot up to six marshmallows in ten seconds.
The loading of the marshmallow, the launching, and the two axes that create the movement are controlled by four servo motors. They used Python and Arduino C systems to program the machine. While I don’t completely grasp all of these concepts, I am sure some of you techies out there appreciate the complexity and innovation that went into this creation. While most of the information and tech speak is over my head (sorry that the solenoid actuation system confuses me a little…) it is all extremely impressive and fascinating how they really put to use their hard work from class and created something relatable, usable and fun for people of all ages.
Projects like this remind us that we have the potential to create so much, not only with the resources that are accessible to us at our own colleges, but when we unite forces and brain power we have potential to invent and create. As the next leaders of our world, we are the people that are creating new technologies and the awesome inventions that are our future…not to get to intense and deep on everyone.
Anyways…check out the website of these amazing student engineers! And watch the video below to see how it works:
Have you done any cool projects in class?