This Hacked Bowling Ball Assures You'll Always Get Strikes

Ex-NASA engineer Marc Rober and former toy designer James Bruton got together to create the bowling ball.
Fabienne Lang

What happens when you put a former NASA JPL engineer and an ex-toy designer together? A bowling ball that never misses its target(s), of course.

Marc Rober, who used to work at NASA, and James Bruton who has designed moving robotics and toys, decided to partner up on a fun project to see if they could create a bowling ball that auto-strikes.

Wherever they steered, the ball went.


How did they do it? 

To begin with, Rober sliced a regular bowling ball in half and discovered that the inside was asymmetrically weighted (this allows many professional bowlers to use this to their advantage).

After hollowing out the middle parts, Rober and Bruton set to the task of designing their own bowling ball interior, one fitted out with their own asymmetrical weight that can remotely shift from side to side. 

The inside of their bowling ball was then kitted out with an electronic and mechanical mechanism that you can find inside other self-balancing mechanisms — like the Star Wars BB-8.

The additional, and main feature Bruton and Rober's bowling ball has, however, is a pivoting pendulum weight.

So the ball now shifts from side to side depending on the player's movements. It's able to do this because the player wears a small motion-sensing device. So the ball can now move multiple times side to side as it makes its way down the lane.

This incredible creation won't be added to the professional bowling ranks anytime soon, not only because it weighs slightly less than regular bowling balls, but because this would be downright cheating. 

Bruton and Rober wanted to see if this could work and did the project for fun, and to test their knowledge.

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