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    Bit to Do

    Local Engineering space mixes food, fun, and science
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    Let the food fights begin! LVL 1 "hacker" or "maker" space is a member-based creative science space. It is a space where people can gather to use equipment otherwise unavailable to them, network, find out about classes and more. You can go there to work on your own projects or get involved in other people's projects pertaining to creativity, software, engineering and experiments of several types.

    Over the past weekend, the group hosted a 24 hour "Hack-A-Thon" where teams had 24 hours to build, test, and use devices that would fling food.  The teams could only bring in $150 worth of supplies or less and had to use parts from the "bone-yard", a room in the warehouse that is full of discarded computers, parts, and electronics.

    I missed the building portion of the 24 hours but was able to attend the face-off, where the devices were used and results measured.  There was a "Muff Cannon" that was perhaps the most decorated cannon. It had "Hello Kitty" duct tape on it and was painted. It fired muffins and did pretty well on distance. Other entries included a waffle flinger, a taco cannon, a shot-shooter, a martini cannon, and a bow that shot arrows with liquid nitrogen ice cream on the end of them, and a huge bunch of balloons carrying a house with a cupcake inside.  (Who knew liquid nitrogen is so easy to come by?)

    The winner? The martini cannon shot its missile from the back of the alley near Shelby Street,  all the way down the block and across Clay street into the alley on the other side. It blew the other entries away on distance, but first place  was a tie between liquid nitrogen ice cream by Ben Hibben and Joseph Clagg and the shot shooter by Aaron VerDow.  The shot-shooter allowed VerDow to place a shot of Jager on the device and step away from it. He then hit a foot pedal, launching the shot towards him, which he caught in his mug of beer for an "Irish Car Bomb" cocktail. Second place went to Team Muff Cannon. Specifications for judging were distance, taste, appearance, and ingenuity.

    "Pat McCarthy had a martini shooter that has potential applications for a long range military ranger," said Brad Luyster, who organized the Hack-A-Thon.

    You can learn more at the LVL 1 web site. They also have an open meeting at 8 pm on Tuesday nights that is free to attend. You can take tours, meet makers, find people to join your projects, enjoy the potluck food, and get the rundown on everything going on at the building located at 814 E Broadway. It looks like a boarded up ghost town from the front, but it's pretty lively when you approach from the alley in the back.

    Photos by Jessica Lynn

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    About Jessica Lynn

    Jessica Lynn has been writing for since fall of 2010 and has also been published in LEO, Velocity, Voice-Tribune and others after serving as Editor in Chief of The JCC student newspaper, The Quadrangle. She has also served as columnist or contributing writer to an array of online publications.

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