Replica Mjolnir hammers that look just like the one carried by Thor in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe aren’t that hard to come by, if you have enough disposable income. But none of them worked like the one in the movies, until now.
Thor’s hammer used to be really, really heavy. In the original Norse myth, even the prodigiously strong Thor required a set of “iron grippers” and a “power belt” to wield the mighty Mjolnir.
When Marvel first borrowed the Norse god as a comic book character, the idea of his hammer being extremely heavy also made the jump. According to Science 2.0, early Thor adventures involved his super-heavy hammer being lifted by an “atomic-powered hydraulic hoist” and a math nerd with telekinetic powers, among others.
The problem with Thor’s hammer just being super heavy was that the Marvel universe was littered with ridiculously strong heroes and villains, so the idea of Thor being the strongest man, god, alien, mutant, or whatever alive just didn’t hold water anymore.
So when Marvel imported Thor into its own mythos, a little wrinkle was created, and Mjolnir bore an inscription that explained why not just anyone could pick it up.
“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”
In a short scene from Avengers 2, Iron Man and Captain America try to lift Mjolnir. Stark even gets a little help, but he can’t so much as budge the mystical hammer.
“The handle’s imprinted, ‘Whosoever is carrying Thor’s fingerprints,’ is I think the literal translation?” Tony Stark quips, suggesting that the source of the hammer’s power might be more scientific than mystical.
What he came up with is pretty ingenious. It’s essentially a powerful electromagnet that gets turned on whenever someone grabs the handle of the hammer. To turn it off, someone with “worthy fingerprints” has to touch a thumbprint scanner in the handle.
The hammer wasn’t made out of scrap parts, like Sufficiently Advanced’s earlier Rasengan project, but the component list doesn’t look too spendy, anyway.
At the heart of the functional Mjolnir replica is an Arduino Pro Mini, which is a microcontroller board that will set you back less than $10. It also has a capacitive touch sensor connected to the handle, and a thumbprint scanner.
The powerful electromagnet is actually scavenged from an old microwave oven.
When the hammer is turned on by someone gripping the handle, the electromagnet sticks it to any metal surface with tremendous force.
In a twist on the old quarter glued to a sidewalk prank, Sufficiently Advanced sets his replica Mjolnir down on a variety of metal surfaces and invites passers by to pick it up.
As only one person possesses “worthy fingerprints” to lift the replica Thor’s hammer, a number of people are shown to try, and fail, to lift the hammer.
When one kid manages to budge the hammer a little, Sufficiently Advanced suggests that the child is a little worthy, “like Captain America.”
Tony Stark would be proud.
What would you pay for a functional replica of Thor’s Mjolnir hammer?
[Screengrabs via Sufficiently Advanced / YouTube]