College Students Construct a Face-Tracking Marshmallow Cannon

Engineering students at Olin College spent 3 months and a $250 budget to construct a face-tracking marshmallow shooter nicknamed the Confectionery Cannon.

What's the Latest?


Here's an arms race I can get behind.

Engineering students at Olin College spent three months and a $250 budget to construct a face-tracking marshmallow cannon for their Principles of Engineering course. The Confectionery Cannon, as the four young engineers call it, was programmed using Python and utilizes OpenCV to guide the device's face tracking capabilities.

Just check out the video to see how awesome it is:

What's the Big Idea?

Aside from its potential as the weapon for the world's most delicious firing squad, the Confectionery Cannon allowed the students to achieve course objectives and put their knowledge to work. The cannon's automated reload makes it able to fire six marshmallows in 10 seconds. A pneumatic system launches the sugary ammunition with the help of 135 PSI of pressure. Their impressive website, linked below, offers a fun glimpse into the design and construction of the cannon.

Engineering.com has a good write-up on the cannon's specs.

Learn more at http://confectionerycannon.com/

Photo credit: Brittny / Shutterstock

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Elon Musk's SpaceX approved to launch 7,518 Starlink satellites into orbit

SpaceX plans to launch about 12,000 internet-providing satellites into orbit over the next six years.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX plans to launch 1,600 satellites over the next few years, and to complete its full network over the next six.
  • Blanketing the globe with wireless internet-providing satellites could have big implications for financial institutions and people in rural areas.
  • Some are concerned about the proliferation of space debris in Earth's orbit.
Keep reading Show less