Fans of the Avengers film series will recall Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, that can only be lifted by someone 'worthy,' AKA the superhero himself. However, while the one in the movies was probably a prop, Alan Pan's Mjolnir is the real deal!
But before you get all excited, Pan is not a living superhero with magical powers. He is an electrical engineer who used his technical skills and imagination to build a hammer that only he can lift. The Los Angeles resident whose YouTube video has garnered over 12 million views in just five days, began by placing an electromagnetic magnet obtained from a microwave inside a hammer shell.
This helps generate a magnetic field so strong that the hammer is impossible to lift when placed over a metallic surface. Pan then fitted the handle with a capacitive touch sensor and a fingerprint identification sensor.
When a stranger tries to move the hammer, the first sensor relays the message to an Arduino Pro Mini computer, which in turn activates the electromagnet, making it impossible to lift. However, when Pan touches it, the fingerprint sensor that is programmed with his prints takes over. It disables the magnets allowing the inventor to raise the Mjolnir instantly! Who knew being an engineer could be so much fun?
Resources: zmescience.com, Youtube.com