These guys built a sub for September’s Maker Faire, as part of Red Bull’s Game of Games competition.
I don’t know how far you’d go to win a competition, but I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t go as far as these guys did. Team 1.21 Jigawatts put together a submarine within 72 hours, whose sole purpose in life is to get sunk – again and again – while the crew dash around inside trying to pull the right lever or twiddle the right dial to keep the thing watertight. Get it right and you stay dry; get it wrong, and you get a soaking. It’s all part of the Game of Games challenge to the Red Bull Creation teams, each of which had to make a game – the game of games, in fact – with the final objective being a showing at the New York Maker’s Faire in September.
1.21 Jigawatts is defending its title with this latest project; last year it was the Red Bull Creation grand prize winner. “We are a local Minnesota team of builders with a mix of expertise in technology and art here in the Twin Cities,” says the website notice, adding “in our spare time, we build maniacal creations to inspire imagination and stretch mental know-how.” Mike Senese of Science Channel fame describes the Red Bull Creation teams as the type of people who like to take things apart. “Some of the most surprising and most successful things in the world today,” says Senese on the Red Bull Creation video, “are items that have come out of severe limitations. That’s where the mind starts working, where the gears start turning, and where the magic starts happening.”
The sub is an interactive game device, in which the crew try to keep the thing in working order while disaster after disaster is flung at them. Twitter followers can even depth-charge the Red September with their Tweets, and that’s almost the least of the things that can happen to the poor unfortunates in this submersible. When disaster strikes the thing quivers and shakes, and Twitter warns an already panicked crew that more trouble is on the way. Quick reflexes are the only thing that will save them; anything less than the best will provoke jets of punishing water.
The Red Bull Creation teams have poured their hearts and souls into this. Minotaur’s Revenge, this year’s People’s Choice selection, features duelling maze tables in which you and your opponents compete – and set traps on each other’s tables – in order to be the first to the end of the maze. Or there’s Thumby Wars, the idea of which is deceptively simple but the execution is something altogether other. Each team faced the same time and tools constraints, but that doesn’t seem to have fazed them in the slightest.
The Maker Faire they’re headed off to in September is pretty much exactly that; a collection of tinkerers and crafters who spend their spare time putting all kinds of jury-rigged Rube Goldberg devices together. “We particularly encourage exhibits that are interactive and that highlight the process of making things,” the Faire organizers say in their notes to potential entrants. Sounds as though the Red September fits that bill quite nicely.