October 11th, 2012
02:03 PM ET

This 'Mousetrap' can crush a car - and teach physics

by Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

Dearborn, Michigan (CNN) - If the crooked blue staircase, colorful crank and dangling bathtub looked familiar, well, that's the point.

"Who wants to play 'The Life Size Mousetrap' - and sign a waiver?" a big top voice boomed across the Maker Faire at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, this summer.

Ahh, yes. At this annual celebration of DIY culture, of course this would appear: a scaled-up version of "Mouse Trap," the Hasbro game bent on marbles zigging through a plastic labyrinth. And the circus voice? That would be Mark Perez, creator of the larger-than-life board game. Almost every run begins with a boardwalk-style sales pitch of his grand machine.

"Are there any engineers in the house?" a voice bellowed over the sound system, drawing a few claps.

"Who likes to do math in here?" it demanded, drawing ... nothing.

"Let's not have this weak applause for math! MATH!"

Perez played "Mouse Trap" a lot as a kid - kind of. Nobody followed the rules, he said. They just liked to build the machine and make it work. In his house, they built and rebuilt the contraption so often, they'd get a new version of the game every couple years.

"I decided one day to put three of them together to see if I could make them all work and hopefully not poke my sister's eye out," he said.

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Filed under: Extracurricular • Physics • video