If you’re a fan of Marvel Comics or the films based on their characters, you’ll surely know that Mjolnir is the legendary hammer of Thor – the one only the sufficiently worthy can lift off the ground.
Inspired by a scene in “Age Of Ultron”, electrical engineer Allen Pan set out to create a Mjolnir replica. It looks simple enough to the casual viewer, but inside there’s some serious electronic wizardry going on.
First, Pan decided to use magnetism to hold the hammer in place. Employing a microwave oven transformer, he was able to generate a magnetic field with enough pull to hold his Mjolnir firmly onto any heavy metal surface.
Then he configured the hammer with a capacitive touch sensor attached to an Arduino Pro Mini micro-controller, a battery pack and a solid state relay. Those components work in combination to turn on the powerful magnets when someone grabs the handle.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. Pan wired the whole thing with a fingerprint sensor that recognizes his thumb print and turns off the power.
So now he’s “worthy” and no one else is. Can you see where this is going?
The crafty engineer took his creation to the streets in California. Making sure to leave it on things such as manhole covers and metal plates that couldn’t be lifted on their own, he set the scene for a stream of “unworthy” passers-by to take the Mjolnir challenge. And, he captured all the action on video:
A couple of people do catch on, but most just can’t figure it out. Then, near the end of the video, a clever person walks up and demonstrates an easy solution that even Pan has to admire.
To the diehard fan, this may sound familiar. That’s because in the “Age of Ultron” movie, Tony Stark accuses Thor of exactly this kind of thumbprint trickery – after all of the Avengers try without success to lift Mjornir: