Ex-NASA engineer and YouTube inventor Mark Rober have built a perfect rock-skipping robot. This robot performs this task magnificently and assists you also to skip rocks better.
Initially, Rober built the robot by tweaking a clay pigeon thrower, creating wooden custom throwing arms and a base for stability. He built a prototype out of this and his assistants (nieces and nephews) gave Skippa, the rock throwing robot a new look with spray paint and giant googly eyes, then brainstormed test variables for a perfect skip.
How did they achieve the perfect rock skip?
A team constrained this in four variables:
- The wrist angle of the robot (the angle of the rock relative to the water)
- The arm angle of the water (which changes the path of the rock)
- The rocks used (variations in diameter and thickness)
- To manage uniform controls for robot tests, they made their own rocks out of unfired clay (the clay discs easily dried in the sun, and dissolved in water under 30 mins)
After many unsuccessful attempts of skips, it began to shoot rocks tumbling across the water in over 60 skips per throw.
Eventually, Rober found the recipe for perfect rock skip: the rock should hit at a 20-degree angle to the water, with a 20-degree path, and a higher throw for more energy. Flicking the wrist as much as possible will help the rock spin, which will help the rock hold stagnant. In the end, the most important factors for rock selection is a flat bottom and finding a rock that’s heavy but not too big to handle.
When Rober’s amateur engineering team tested the principles, they learned from the robot, they were quickly able to improve their skips from an average of three to 16 skips.