December 14, 2021

Mark Rober’s Glitter Bomb 4.0 Hits Doorsteps with a Manufacturing Hand from Protolabs

By Protolabs

While the holiday season is generally a time of giving and good will, there’s been an unfortunate uptick in package pilfering “porch pirates” nabbing delivered goods from unsuspecting residents’ homes. The majority of the roughly 2 million packages stolen each year happen in December, as holiday shopping ramps up and the world awaits near-daily Amazon deliveries.

The bad news: despite common home security systems, there isn’t a one-size fits all solution to the scrooge-like thievery. The good news: Engineer, science lover, and YouTuber Mark Rober has mastered the art of catching a handful of these crooks by taking a page from Home Alone’s beloved Kevin McCallister. 

For the last three years, Mark Rober’s 20.4 million (and counting!) followers anxiously await Rober’s annual expertly engineered bait package video showcasing light-hearted and inventive ways to video document the hilarity of getting back at a few unsuspecting package thieves. Rober’s past tactics included an exploding bomb of micro-fine and nearly impossible to clean up glitter, stink spray deploying on loop, and elaborate lighting and sound effects to mimic the police.

What’s in a Glitter Bomb?

Each year, the Glitter Bomb gets upgraded with new bells, whistles, mechanics, and functions to more effectively document and shame package-stealing “Harrys” and “Marvs” of the world. Rober’s fundamental battery-powered microcontroller with a custom-printed circuit board communicate with the component’s four-phones that record the entire unboxing. The bait box is equipped with GPS systems, so Rober can retrieve the device after the prank has ended.

Last year, the Glitter Bomb’s facelift included 50% more biodegradable glitter and additional skunk essence to spray every 30 seconds, encouraging package stealers to ditch the package without nabbing the four phones inside.

What’s New, Glitter Bomb? A Helping Hand from Protolabs

We were thrilled to be able to machine custom parts, including six aluminum pressure tanks for this year’s Glitter Bomb. The new pneumatic system allows the lid to shoot off as soon as the package thief attempts to open the package. The tanks are filled with air (80 psi) and once the package lid is removed, a magnet attached to a sensor is removed, which triggers the air to fill the pistons and two small boxing gloves pop the lid off at a high rate of speed.

If you don’t already, we recommend subscribing to Rober’s channel for his tech-driven innovations, STEM-fueled experiments, and harmless but very entertaining pranks. Shout out to Mark and the Glitter Bomb 4.0 for doing their part to save Christmas.