Science, you guys. It’s at the heart of every superhero’s story (er, unless aliens, mythology, or the occult are involved). Allen Pan has taken the first step to becoming a superhero himself.
The host of YouTube channel “Sufficiently Advanced” created a replica of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, but he decided to give it a little something extra. Now, everyone’s seen someone cosplay Thor before. Yet none of those cosplayers had a hammer only they could pick up.
Just like Thor’s own weapon, Pan’s hammer can only be picked up by its rightful owner…at least when it’s on a metal surface. His version of Thor’s hammer contains magnets that are activated and de-activated by a thumbprint scanner, and Pan’s thumbprint is the only one that will turn the magnet off.
How does Pan do it? The touch sensor on the handle accepts his thumbprint. When his thumb isn’t on the sensor, electricity is run through a solid-state relay to the electromagnet within. Four 12-volt SLA batteries power it. By the way, Pan borrowed this electromagnet from a microwave. Do not try this yourself if you don’t have experience with that kind of work. Pan has said he’ll put a how-to video up soon. If it’s something you want to try, he warns: “It’s not a beginner project.”
The fingerprint scanner can accept multiple thumbprints. Pan has offered an open invitation to “Thor” actor Chris Hemsworth and creator Stan Lee to put their thumbprints on his version of Thor’s hammer. It’s not so far-fetched as it sounds. Pan’s video of the hammer has exploded with 12 million views, and Mark Ruffalo even shared it on his Tumblr page. Wait, Mark Ruffalo has a Tumblr? Is that creepy?
Given the video’s popularity, Pan has even put an FAQ about the hammer up.
Why did he go with a fingerprint scanner instead of an RFID chip? Tony Stark makes a joke about Thor’s hammer having a fingerprint scanner in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Sufficiently Advanced is Pan’s new YouTube channel, dedicated to building gadgets that come straight out of science-fiction and fantasy movies. His very first video for the channel (Mjolnir was only his second) showed off a Rasengan prop he made for his little brother’s cosplay as Naruto. A Rasengan is a glowing ball of energy that hovers over Naruto’s hand. As Pan points out, different-colored LEDs can be used to simulate similar balls of energy from other anime series.
Similar to Mjolnir, his Rasengan is made from salvaged materials like the battery pack, motor, and axle from an RC car, four LEDs, a lot of tape, and a few hot glued Legos for stability.
The creativity behind Pan’s work is incredible. Sure, a workshop with a ton of resources might be able to turn out more elegant versions of these, but usable cosplays are usually created out of someone’s home from the tools and materials they have access to.
Pan has said his Mjolnir is too complicated to construct and ship reliably, but that he will be producing and shipping his Rasengan props to interested cosplayers and collectors.