Mark Rober

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Mark Rober
Alma materBrigham Young University
University of Southern California
YouTube Personality
Known forYouTube videos
Digital Dudz
Mars Rover

Mark Rober is an American engineer, inventor and YouTube personality. He is best known for his YouTube videos on popular science, do-it-yourself gadgets and creative ideas. His most popular invention is Digital Dudz, a range of Halloween costumes that integrate mobile apps with clothing which then he sold to Morphsuits. As an engineer, Rober spent seven years working on the Curiosity rover at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Early life[edit]

Rober grew up in Orange County, California. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from Brigham Young University and a Master's degree from the University of Southern California.[1][2]


Rober joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in 2004.[3] He worked there for 9 years, 7 of which were spent working on the Curiosity rover, which is now on Mars.[2] He designed and delivered hardware on several JPL missions, including AMT, GRAIL, SMAP, and Mars Science Laboratory.[4] While at NASA, Rober was one of the primary architects for "JPL Wired", which was a comprehensive knowledge capture wiki.[4] He published a case study about applying wiki technology in a high-tech organization to develop an "Intrapedia" for the capture of corporate knowledge.[5]


What started as a single YouTube video of Rober's iPad Halloween costume soon turned into a series of videos that attracted significant attention from the public and the media.

The videos cover a wide variety of topics. Some are simply original and fun, such as his ideas for April Fools' Day pranks[6] or skinned watermelons;[7][8] yet others show how to make useful gadgets for various purposes, such as a snowball machine gun fashioned from a leaf blower and non-invasive filming of primates in zoos;[1] finally, Rober makes popular science videos, such as egg drop competition ideas[9] and a scale model of the Solar System showing the distance of Planet Nine using a drone.[10] Rober summarized his approach: "I love to take something very commonplace and reuse it in an original way."[1]

In December 2018 Rober went viral with a video tricking parcel thieves with an engineered contraption that glitterbombs the thieves, receiving 25 million views in just one day.[11] This video, however, was later discovered to be "at least partially false."[12] Rober addressed accusations of staging and announced that unbeknownst to him, two of the reactions were intentional.[13]

Additionally, Rober is the host of a popular science TV show on the Science Channel called The Quick And The Curious.[14][15] He contributed articles to Men's Health.[16] He gave a TEDx speech entitled How To Come Up With Good Ideas[2] and another one entitled The Super Mario Effect - Tricking Your Brain into Learning More[17]. He has also made numerous appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live![6]

Digital Dudz[edit]

On Halloween 2011, Rober placed one iPad on the front and one on his back, and created the illusion of seeing through his body by linking the two using the FaceTime video chatting app.[18] He posted the video of the "gaping hole in torso" costume on YouTube and it immediately went viral, receiving 1.5 million views in just one day.[19][20]

When he launched Digital Dudz on 3 October 2012 and started selling costumes online, Rober was still doing it in his spare time. With the YouTube video as the only advertising, Digital Dudz earned a quarter million dollars in three weeks. In 2013, his costumes had pockets sewn into the insides and were being carried in hundreds of Party City stores and other specialty shops across the U.S. By August 2013, the app was downloaded a quarter of a million times. Rober holds a patent for the integration of apps with clothing and costumes.[18][21][22] Digital Dudz costumes were featured on CBS News, CNN, The Jay Leno Show, Fox, Yahoo! News, Discovery Channel, The Today Show, GMA, and dozens of other media channels.[23] Rober sold Digital Dudz in 2013 to British costume-maker Morphsuits and left his job at NASA to join the company as chief creative officer. He signed a deal with Disney to create augmented outfits modeled on Marvel Comics superheroes.[21]

Glitter Bomb Prank[edit]

In December of 2018 Rober created the 'Glitter Bomb' which was designed to capture and embarrass thieves stealing packages from his porch during the Christmas season. Rober created a device that, when opened, sprayed the perpetrator with glitter and emitted a foul smell. This was video recorded by mobile devices embedded into the device and then the video was uploaded to Rober's mobile account for viewing.[24][25][26][27]

Rober created a Youtube video to document the alleged thieves reactions and comments. The video immediately went viral, receiving more than 49 million views.[28] It was later discovered that two of the five alleged thieves were known to Rober or Rober's friends, with Rober explaining that he had "asked his friends — and friends of friends — to try out his invention, even offering to pay those who could recover their packages".[29][30][31][32][33] Rober subsequently removed two of these clips from the video.[29][34]

Personal life[edit]

Rober lives in the city of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County, with his wife and son.[35] In order to raise awareness about autism Rober tweeted out his support for those with autism, referencing his son who has the condition.[36]


  1. ^ a b c Hart, Hugh (16 February 2012). "Dirt-Cheap iPhone Trick Captures Great Ape Close-Ups". Wired. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b c TEDx Talks (2 July 2015). "How To Come Up With Good Ideas - Mark Rober - TEDxYouth@ColumbiaSC". YouTube. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  3. ^ Diaz, Jesus (16 August 2012). "Seven Years In the Life of One of the Engineers of the Mars Curiosity Rover". Gizmodo. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b Verville, Jon; Jones, Patricia M.; Rober, Mark. "Why Wikis at NASA?". NASA. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  5. ^ Rober, Mark B.; Cooper, Lynne P. (2011). "Capturing Knowledge via an "Intrapedia": A Case Study" (PDF). Proceedings of the 44th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. IEEE. pp. 1–10. ISSN 1530-1605. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b Worland, Justin (31 March 2016). "Let a NASA Nerd Show You Some Easy and Awesome April Fools' Pranks". Time. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  7. ^ O'Neil Bellomo, Rheanna (15 June 2016). "Skinning a Watermelon is Apparently the "Ultimate Party Trick"". Delish. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  8. ^ Spence, Shay (3 September 2015). "Skinning a Watermelon Is Your New Labor Day Party Trick". People. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  9. ^ Rose, Brent (27 May 2015). "How to Win Your Physics Class Egg Drop Competition". Gizmodo. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  10. ^ Chan, Casey (9 March 2016). "This Easy to Understand Scale Model of Our Solar System Shows How Far Planet Nine Is". Gizmodo. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  11. ^ Kleinman, Zoe (2018-12-18). "Glitter bomb tricks parcel thieves". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  12. ^ Moye, David (2018-12-21). "One Of The Best Viral Videos Of The Year Was At Least Partially Staged". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-12-21.
  13. ^ Rober, Mark (2018-12-17). "Package Thief vs. Glitter Bomb Trap". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  14. ^ "How Much Do Clouds Weigh?". The Quick and The Curious. Science Channel. Archived from the original on 11 May 2017.
  15. ^ Sims, Alexandra (3 February 2016). "The 'five second rule' is real, say NASA engineers". Independent. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Author: Mark Rober". Men's Health. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  17. ^ TEDx Talks (2018-05-31), The Super Mario Effect - Tricking Your Brain into Learning More | Mark Rober | TEDxPenn, retrieved 2018-10-29
  18. ^ a b Shubber, Kadhim (23 August 2013). "Mark Rober left Nasa to make awesome wearable tech Halloween costumes". Wired UK. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  19. ^ Johnson, Charity (2 October 2015). "Go Hi-Tech This Halloween With These DIY Costume Videos". Tech Times. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  20. ^ Kelly, Heather (18 October 2013). "Smartphone wounds and other high-tech Halloween tricks". CNN. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  21. ^ a b Clark, Patrick (18 October 2013). "A NASA Engineer Builds a Better Halloween Costume". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  22. ^ Pepitone, Julianne (12 December 2014). "Digitally animated ugly Christmas sweaters bring the kitsch to a new level". Today. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  23. ^ Digital Dudz. "Select Digital Dudz Media Coverage 2013- Incld GMA, TODAY, Leno, Miley". YouTube. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Man plants glitter bomb 'Amazon' package to catch thief, and it's epic". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  25. ^ Murphy, Mike. "Plagued by porch pirates? This NASA engineer set a glitter-bomb package". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  26. ^ CNBC, Karen Gilchrist |. "NASA Engineer Designs Glitter Bomb Trap for Package Thieves". NBC New York. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  27. ^ Kleinman, Zoe (2018-12-18). "Glitter bomb tricks parcel thieves". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  28. ^ Mark Rober, Package Thief vs. Glitter Bomb Trap, retrieved 2018-12-22
  29. ^ a b Maxouris, Christina (December 22, 2018). "Package thieves ambushed by an engineer's 'glitter bombs' were not all real robbers, he admits". CNN.
  30. ^ Feiner, Lauren (2018-12-21). "Glitter bomb video was partially faked, former NASA engineer says". Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  31. ^ Wang, Amy B.; Jr, Cleve R. Wootson; Post, The Washington (2018-12-22). "A porch pirate glitter bomb brought Christmas schadenfreude to millions. Some of it was staged". SFGate. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  32. ^ "Package thieves ambushed by an engineer's 'glitter bombs' were not all real robbers, he admits". WCPO. 2018-12-22. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  33. ^ Kanter, Jake. "My credibility 'is sort of shot': Former NASA engineer behind the viral YouTube glitter-bomb video admits some of it was faked". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  34. ^ "A porch pirate glitter bomb brought Christmas schadenfreude to millions. Some of it was staged". The Washington Post. December 22, 2018.
  35. ^ Mitchell, Sara (12 October 2012). "Local engineer creates new Halloween costume venture". SignalSCV. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  36. ^ Rober, Mark [@MarkRober] (2 Apr 2018). "Happy Autism awareness day/month. The best part of my day is the 20 minute night time routine with my son and his stuffed animals. Repetition doesn't bother him (in fact he prefers it) so my same jokes totally kill every night" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

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