Human Powered Text Message Printer Wins Red Bull Creation Competition

Human Powered Text Message Printer Wins Red Bull Creation Competition

A team from Minneapolis captured the judges attention with their hybrid low and high tech prototype.

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 12 july 2011

This past Sunday in McCarren Park, Brooklyn the Red Bull Creation teams unveiled their projects which they constructed over a marathon 72-hour build off. Using mostly scavenged materials, teams were challenged to creatively move a person from one point to another without using any fossil fuels for propulsion energy. Each of the 16 participating teams had two and half minutes to present and demonstrate their prototypes in front of a huge audience and a panel of judges. Winning the competition overall was the 1.21 Jigawatts team from Minneapolis, MN. Together Dillon Hodapp, Nathan Knutson, Ben Arcand and Dave Heisserer built a human-sized hamster wheel which was wired into a mobile network. They gave the wheel its own phone number and invited attendees at the event to send single word text messages to it. Suspended from the back of the wheel was a series of actuator driven spray cans which would print out each of the submitted words on a roll of paper as the person in the wheel walked forward. The wheel could handle 60,000 one word messages which would probably be enough to print a text string completely around the edge of Manhattan. It is an impressive project considering they completed it on only 72 hours and it worked.

For their work, the team took home the grand prize of $5,000, and also received four 40W Hobby Laser Cutters from Full Spectrum Laser.

Check out our roundup here of some of the other competing projects.


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