Red Bull Creation: 72 Hours to Build a Crazy Contraption

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1.21 Jigawatts – Human-Powered Text Message Printer

1.21 Jigawatts is a hamster wheel, but with a twist--it can also print out dot-matrix messages. On the underside of 1.21 Jigawatts’ human-sized hamster wheel is an actuated inkjet printer. The printer is connected to a phone for receiving--and then printing--text messages. The paper at the front is taped onto part of the wheel and as it turns, pulling down the paper and supplying the printer with electricity.

North Street Labs

When North Street Labs rolled into their maker workshop, they were given a toolbox full of parts and a junkyard patch of scrap. Thus their toolbox electric bike was born. At the front, NSL strapped a front wheel with speed controllers of varying voltages and a steering wheel with acceleration controls. NSL told me that you'd hold down the left one for "slow", the right for "fast", and hold down both for "super fast"--think 70 miles per hour. The inside of the toolbox is used as a seat, and the whole thing stores itself--you can use front handle for roll-along portability.

Ruination: WPV (Wedgie-Powered Vehicle)

The first thing you might notice about the WPV is that there seems to be an adult sized diaper in the middle of it. That’s because it basically is--and it’s what powers the entire rig. To get the WPV moving, you need to jump and the two ropes holding the harness in suspension are attached to bike chains and the wheels. As the harness falls the ropes are pulled upwards, transferring power to the wheels, there’s also a trampoline to help the rider jump back up. It’s also steerable with ropes strung through the handle bar at the front wheels.

Effin Ladies: Human Powered Chair Lift & Beverage Chiller

Effin Ladies didn't finish their build in time. The team originally wanted to build a chair lift on a raising arm, but they ran out of time, money, and cable for a pulley system. In the end they put together a water-cooler system with a water tank sitting on top of the person-raising seat. The water bottle was fitted with a hose that led though an adjacent tank of ice and finally to a gravity fed tap.

ITP: Gezeble

ITP rolled out with some mobile Air Walk exercise equipment. Called the Gezeble--half gazelle and half bull--it looks and works just like a bike. But instead of pedaling you need to walk in order to move. The energy of your strut goes to two bars welded to actual bicycle pedals that turn the front wheels. See it in action...

Double Wide

Sure, this might look like a telecommunicating robot, but it’s really just a cool-looking bot made of scrap. And it can dance a little like a marionette-- it's suspended and moved via cables attached to two electric drills up on top. Click the photo on the right for a closer look.

NYC Resistor: Nautilus Terrestrial

NYC Resistor decided to go 19th-century steampunk with its maker creation--imagine, if you will, a hand-pumped railroad cart slapped on top of a bicycle. To keep the steampunk look, the team made its build completely out of wood and brass-colored metal. On the back-end of its ride, NYC Resistor retrofitted some brass lamps heads into a steam exhaust system fed by small fans and dry ice. Sadly, they don’t provide thruster-like steam afterburners.

Alpha One Labs: Alpha Wheel

Alpha One Labs brought in a hamster wheel set in a pretty elaborate dynamometer arrangement. A human hamster would get the main wheel spinning, so that the four smaller wheels it was set on would rotate and send power to the axle of the back wheels. Both the runner and front passenger can handle steering thanks to a bar that wraps around the outside of the Alpha Wheel.


Like 23b Shop,Techshop also brought in a seesaw, but this one can swivel, which makes the ride a lot faster and more hectic. It needs two people to get moving, but once it’s up to speed it’s like a dipping helicopter blade. Techshop also rigged some accelerometers to two Polaroid cameras to capture the rider’s expression once the spinning seesaw reaches it’s maximum oh shit speed. See it in action...


It wasn't actually part of the competition, but most of the makers here went through the Madagascar Institute. The team also left their fossil fuel and rocket ponies at home and put together some mechanical bulls with a facade made of old tires. See it in action...

Drumroll Please...

When all was said and done, Techshop took home the Team Choice Award, and 1.21 Jigawatts was crowned Red Bull Creation Champion. Who would you have picked as the winner? Leave a comment below!

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