Mark Rober, an American YouTuber and Engineer have invented a robot that can produce domino murals in just over 24 hours. In a video clip uploaded on his YouTube channel, the robot arranges 100,000 dominoes into a Super Mario Bros. themed mural within 24 hours.
Rober estimates that it would take a team of seven humans a week to complete the same job.
If you suck at setting up dominoes but you’re good at engineering… then you’re actually *really good* as setting up dominoes (new video is live on YT). pic.twitter.com/jVSgsQo7o7
— Mark Rober (@MarkRober) July 27, 2021
A number of robots have been created to perform very specialized activities, from shampooing hair to shooting billiard. One further example of a robot that can perform one thing well is the domino-arranging device.
The robot is called “Dominator.” The Dominator Robot completes the task by placing 300 dominoes in one go. These 300 dominoes are placed into the Dominator by another robot.
In the YouTube video, Rober says that the latest version of the Dominator is a hard work of years from him and his team; he explains how the device operates and reveals some of their failed designs that led them to the ultimate result.
The Dominator was developed over a five-year period with the help of two Stanford University students and Bay Area software engineer Alex Baucom of Baucom Robotics.
With almost 2,400 3D printed pieces and programming of more than 14,000 lines of code, the Dominator’s sole purpose is to set up dominoes as quickly as possible. That efficiency is due to a separate sorting device, which Rober describes in the video as a Kuka robotic arm and over 3 miles of Hot Wheels tracks. Hot Wheels and a green Mario shell helped them knock down the Mario mural after their hard work.
But a series of blog postings by Rober’s team provides a wealth of information on everything from the project’s inception to its completion, including how the robot’s software and hardware function.
While the robot’s navigation relies heavily on GPS, aligning the dominoes correctly without knocking any of them over required a lot of trial and error. After experimenting with a few alternative options, the team settled on a camera and marker system to overcome it, what it called “the last centimeter problem.”
Dominator is a brilliant domino-laying machine, and its performance is no exception. Rober proves this by not only defeating the “Domino Queen,” YouTuber Lily Hevesh but also by arranging 102,600 dominoes in 24 hours, breaking the Guinness World Record in the meantime.
It’s not the first time that Mark Rober has stunned us with his creative engineering skills. Some of his famous inventions include an automatic bullseye dartboard, a package thief glitter bomb trap, and his rocket-powered golf club.
NASA engineer Rober spent nine years working on the Mars rover at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory before starting his YouTube channel. He has also worked as a product designer, where he spent four years in the Special Projects Group at Apple Inc., where he authored patents for virtual reality in self-driving automobiles.
Are you willing to try some mini-Dominator action?
There is a piece of good news for you all. Rober and Kiwi Co. have partnered up to create a Domino Machine Tinker Crate at the cost of $25.