After parting ways with The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), former NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Mark Rober has spent most of his time creating videos on YouTube that focus on engineering and scientific concepts through a bunch of fun and elaborate experiments. For example, a couple of years ago, Rober spent time at a local carnival to determine which games players have a chance of winning using physics.
Reports from Gizmodo shared that for his latest video, Rober was inspired by an attempt to go on bird watching as another way to pass the time during the global coronavirus pandemic. But his experience which was disturbed by a group of local squirrels that managed to overcome squirrel-proof bird feeders he found on Amazon.
Rober is well known on social media as someone who overengineers strange yet fun inventions. He twice produced a glitter bomb to punish parcel thieves. He has now been focusing on thieving squirrels.
"Instead of just engineering a bird feeder that could effectively stop squirrels, Rober built an entire American Ninja Warrior-inspired obstacle course in his backyard for them, including everything from trap doors and mazes to even a catapult-and starting with the impossible ladder bridge challenge featured in his expose of carnival games. But Rober completely underestimated his opponents," Gizmodo said.
Former NASA Engineer, Mark Rober, builds 'Ninja Warrior' obstacle course to get rid of thieving squirrels
These squirrels made some impressive and bold attempts to try and cross the ladder bridge. It took them way less time to adapt and come up with strategies, using their natural skills for climbing to get over everything.
"Unless you've spent a lot of time trying to practice that one on your own there's no way even the most athletic person can just step up and win that one. I think it's telling that the parkour masters of the animal kingdom couldn't even do it and just jumped the whole thing," Rober.
Rober was worried that his entire obstacle course was too devious and that the thieving squirrels would not succeed with reaching the giant walnuts that were just sitting there, waiting to be eaten. However, after just a couple of days, it was obvious that even Rober was no match for them.
Rober also said that "There are a few practical takeaways from the elaborate experiment for those struggling with birdfeed-stealing squirrels. I found that what worked well was making the pole too slippery to climb up. That's how I kept them from climbing up every other pole on the course except the starting one."
There are a lot of other interesting experimental videos that are up on Rober's YouTube channel that can also help everyone learn a handful of new things about physics and science. They're a great way to kill boredom during this worldwide lockdown.