If there's one project the epitomizes the vaudevillian, Rube Goldberg spirit the Maker Faire – the DIY arts, engineering and technology festival, now going on its 8th year - it has to be the Life-size Mouse Trap.
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Created by Mark Perez, the 16-piece, 25 ton replica of the classic board game took 15 years to build and now tours the country delivering a unique brand of engineering entertainment to kids of all ages. Combing Newtonian physics, performers and good old fashioned elbow grease, the life-size mouse trap utilizes all the six simple machines made from common materials to navigate eight pound bowling balls (in place of those plastic yellow balls) around a kinetically-driven course that takes two days to assemble.
As a contractor by day and a "fungineer" by night, Perez writes that he believes "in these times of seemingly endless virtual and digital experiences, it is crucial for kids and adults alike to have a real life encounter with the scientific principles that govern our world."
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An hour and half after the gates opened at this year's Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, Perez and his band of merry-pranking mouseketeers reprized the mousetrap for the seventh time, turning the crank that knocked over the bucket that spilled the bowling ball that zig-zagged down the stairs...ah, you know the rest. Check out video of a past performance of the Life-size Mousetrap in action and stay tuned for more Discovery News posts from the 2013 Marker Faire.
Image credit: Karsten Lemm