Friday, October 16, 2015

If I had a hammer, I’d…

“If I had a hammer,
I'd hammer in the morning,
I'd hammer in the evening,
All over this land…”

-Peter,Paul, & Mary

Good Day World!

Marvel Comic fans know all about the Norse Thunder God, Thor.

His hammer – Mjolnir – can not be picked up by just anyone. They have to be worthy – like Thor. As far as I know, the hammer has never found someone else worthy enough to fling it…but that’s another subject.

Enter…Allen Pan, aka Sufficiently Advanced on YouTube, who decided to replicate Mjolnir. The guy is an electrical engineer and pretty darn clever!

He used powerful magnets, and a microwave oven transformer electromagnet in the head. This creates a very strong magnetic pull, strong enough that the hammer, when placed on a metal surface (that can't be lifted, such as a locked manhole cover), feels too heavy to lift.

So how does Pan lift it?

The handle is attached to a capacitive touch sensor, which in turn is attached to an Arduino Pro Mini and a solid state relay, which serves as a switching device. As soon as someone grasps the handle, the electromagnets switch on, attaching the hammer to the metal surface.

The hammer can be turned off via a fingerprint sensor keyed to Pan's thumbprint. When Pan grasps the hammer, the magnets switch on. When he moves his thumb over the sensor, it switches off again, allowing Pan to lift the hammer.

Apparently Pan has a sense of humor and took his hammer to Venice Beach, California, and put it on a manhole and challenged people to pick it up.

All Pan has to do now is harness lightning (it shouldn’t be a problem for an electrical engineer) and train his hammer to come back to him when he throws it!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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