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1998 BOHS grad, Mark Rober, breaks record for world’s largest Nerf gun

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Mark Rober Guinness World Records 2016 Photo Credit: James Ellerker/Guinness World Records

BOHS class of 1998 graduate Mark Rober recently has been packing some pretty big heat. What’s more, he’s used it to blast his way into the Guinness World Records 2017: Blockbusters! book.

    To win an office “arms race” not long after he started a new engineering job in Silicon Valley, Rober spent several weeks designing and building an incredibly high-powered toy weapon that’s recently been recognized as “the world’s largest Nerf gun.” At six feet long, his super-sized creation combines a toilet plunger with a paint ball pressure tank to shoot foam pool-noodle bullets up to 50 yards at 40 mph.

      For Rober, who collected Guinness World Records books as a youngster, his new title is a dream come true. “It’s really cool to make it into the Guinness book,” he reflected. “I never thought I’d get a record, but it’s always been a secret, bucket list kind of thing. And now I have the official certificate hanging in my office!”

        The Sunnydale-based engineer-inventor-entrepreneur long has engaged in science for both fun and profit. The driving force behind both a Science Channel show (“The Quick And The Curious”) and a set of more than 50 engaging and educational YouTube videos with more than 300 million views and over 2 million subscribers. Rober has also worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), given a TED talk, contributed articles to Men’s Health and created and sold a successful digital costume company. What’s more, he regularly appears on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

          After earning engineering degrees from BYU and USC, he joined JPL in 2004 and worked for seven years on the Curiosity car-sized robotic rover, which landed on Mars’ Gale Crater in 2012. Today the Curiosity continues its investigation of the red planet’s habitability, studying its climate and geology in preparation for a future manned mission. While at JPL, Rober also designed and delivered hardware on GRAIL (gravitational field mapping of the moon to determine its interior structure) and SMAP (an Earth observation satellite measuring soil moisture to enhance flood and drought prediction, weather forecasting and more), and was part of the team that built "JPL Wired," a comprehensive knowledge capture wiki for use within the organization.

            In October of 2011, Rober’s first YouTube video, a decidedly high-tech Halloween costume, hit the news and went viral, drawing 1.5 million views in only one day. (This “gaping hole in torso” getup was made by duct taping two iPads…one to his chest and one to his back…and linking the two using FaceTime video chat to create the illusion of seeing right through his body.)

              The public’s enthusiastic reception to this costume led Rober to patent the integration of apps with clothing and costumes, and in 2012 to launch the online shop Digital Dudz in his spare time. His costumes quickly sparked interest on TV shows including “CBS News,” ” The Jay Leno Show,” “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America,” and with advertising done only on YouTube, Digital Dudz earned a quarter million dollars in just its first three weeks.

                By 2013, Rober’s costumes were being carried in hundreds of Party City and other specialty shops across the country. He sold Digital Dudz that year to British costume-maker Morphsuits, and left his job at NASA to join the company as chief creative officer. He later signed a deal with Disney to create augmented outfits modeled on Marvel Comics superheroes.

                  Rober’s fun-loving YouTube career has blossomed since 2013, with more than 50 engaging entries. His creative popular science and do-it-yourself gadget ideas range from April Fools'Day pranks to moving dart boards that create bullseyes, snow ball machine guns made from leaf blowers and even improvements on science fair projects like the lowly egg drop (having come a long way from his first egg drop contest in BOHS honors physics). To date, the video of his record-breaking Guinness Nerf gun has received more than 19 million views.

                    "I love to take something commonplace and reuse it in ridiculous and original ways," Rober said. His 2 million YouTube subscribers are certainly glad that he does.Catch him online at youtube.com/c/MarkRober.

                      Any news? Give Susan Gaede a jingle (714)529-8561 or email me her at suzgaede@aol.com.
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"Thank you" for visiting Beautiful Brea Old & New (BBON). First & foremost, I am a proud mother & wife. I am also a well-rounded independent contractor. But you can call me an enthusiastic cheerleader, supporting wholeheartedly the City of Brea --a charming town with character & innovation, turning 100 years old in 2017!

  • Carolyn Campbell

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