Ex-NASA engineer built an exploding glitter bomb to catch package thieves

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This is what happens when the Glitterbomb explodes with colorful, biodegradable glitter and smelly skunk spray when a thief opens the stolen package. 

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

The next time someone tries to steal a package off your porch, scare them away with the power of glitter. 

Ex-NASA and Apple engineer Mark Rober has figured out a creative and colorful way to deter porch pirates from pillaging your Amazon packages and other deliveries when you’re not around. It’s called a Glitterbomb.

Using a mix of glitter, smelly skunk fart spray and police sounds, Rober has created the ultimate invention to prevent thieves from grabbing your packages. Not only does his Glitterbomb freak out the would-be thieves’ senses, but it also records their reactions using four phone cameras in case you need proof of their criminal intentions for the police and lawyers.

Rober used his engineering skills to go after thieves, who think they’ve gone unnoticed, as they steal packages from people’s front porches. Rober has been upgrading his version of the Glitterbomb case for three years running. 

In the latest version, the Glitterbomb uses a fairly complex system that includes a battery-powered Arduino micro-controller on a custom-printed circuit board that gives instructions to four smartphones that record the thieves’ actions no matter which side they open the package from. It also sends Roper the exact GPS location of the thieves. 


This is what a package thief looks like covered in glitter and fark spray.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Rober has included a SIM card in this newer version of the Glitterbomb, so he can play sounds from the box remotely. This means that after the thieves grab the package and take it home to open, Rober can not only record the thieves and upload the video footage to the cloud, but freak them out with police scanner sounds, as well as red and blue LED police lights. 

He also has figured out a way for the package to spray skunk-scented fumes every 30 seconds to really torment the unsuspecting criminals. But the real entertaining element is the glitter itself. The package now holds more biodegradable glitter to explode onto the thieves as well. 

Rober says he hopes his Glitterbomb will convince porch thieves to think twice before stealing strangers’ packages. 

Rober is no stranger to making videos featuring his entertaining-yet-useful inventions and unusual science experiments. 

In May, he built a Ninja Warrior course for squirrels to keep them away from his bird feeder. Rober also shows how to make a moving dartboard and build the world’s largest Nerf gun


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