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From the Super Liquidator to the Domino Robot: who is Mark Rober, the ex-NASA engineer who enjoys science?

after nine years in the space agency, mark now become a science youtuber

Mark wants to get young people interested in science and engineering. Here’s how he’s doing it

Try calling it a toy again, if you dare. We’re talking about the Super Liquidator, the water gun of the future, with lots of science in it.

No, he couldn’t have known. When former NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Lonnie Johnson invented and brought to market in 1990 the Liquidator, the water pistol of the future (more than 2 million units sold and a billion dollars in revenue), he could never have imagined that 15 years later, he would never have imagined that 15 years later, a colleague of his from NASA would design and assemble the Super Liquidator, a 2.1 metre long water pistol with a ‘firepower’ of 437 kilometres per hour (it pushes water at 165 bar compared with, say, 3.5 bar for a garden hose or 20 bar for a fire hydrant). 



Speed at which the Super Liquidator shoots water is 47 times faster than that of a normal garden pump. This means that its water jet, propelled by pressurised nitrogen cylinders, is capable of breaking a glass, smashing a tin can, cutting a watermelon in two. Rober has also published instructions on how to build the Super Liquidator. More maker than that.

Hi, I’m Mark Rober

Mark Rober, 41, a successful youtuber from California, has a lot of fun. As well as having worked at JPL for nine years, seven of which he spent working on the Curiosity rover (the one that went to Mars in 2011), he has also invented a Nerf mega-gun that throws sponge darts, a dartboard and a moving basketball hoop. 

My future

It was during his tenure at NASA that he realised his future lay in YouTube: more precisely when he invented a DIY Halloween costume and filmed everything with a pair of iPads with FaceTime. The camera on the front iPad showed what was being transmitted from the back iPad and vice versa, creating the illusion of a hole in your body. After NASA, Rober moved on to Apple, where he worked in the tech giant’s special projects group, which he then left in 2019 to focus full-time on his YouTube channel. His mission since then has been to get young people excited about science and engineering.


Domino Robot

Do you in fact think that’s everything? Not by a long shot. Talents like Mark Rober were born to amaze. And entertain. And just recently he did another one of his own. He created a robot capable of arranging dominoes at an impressive speed and showed it in a video in which he arranged 100,000 dominoes in a Super Mario Bros. themed mural. In just over 24 hours. Rober said it would take a team of seven humans a week to do the same thing. As has already happened with other inventions, Rober and his team (it took three people to build this robot) explain also in a video and on a post, to everyone, how the project went from idea, to prototype, to robot and how the software and hardware work.


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Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition has been committed since eight editions to make innovation accessible and usable to all, with the aim of not leaving anyone behind. Its blog is always updated and full of opportunities and inspiration for makers, makers, startups, SMEs and all the curious ones who wish to enrich their knowledge and expand their business, in Italy and abroad.

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