A new robot known as the Dominator has set a Guinness World Record for placing 100,000 dominos in just over 24 hours. Created by YouTuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober, the Dominator is the result of more than five years of work. Rober had help from two freshmen from Stanford University and a Bay Area software engineer in creating the googly-eyed robot. The group programmed more than 14,000 lines of code, and outfitted it with components like omnidirectional wheels and 3D-printed funnels to create what Rober says is a “friendly robot that’s super good at only one thing: setting up a butt-ton of dominos really, really fast.”
Up against professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, the Dominator used its ability to lay down 300 tiles all at once to work about 10 times faster than a human. It took the robot about two hours to put down over 9,000 dominos.
While the Dominator is the face of the project, a lot of its efficiency comes from a separate sorting mechanism that consists of a Kuka robotic arm and almost three miles of Hot Wheels tracks. A series of conveyor belts ferry the dominions by color before the Kuka arm deposits them in the appropriate chute. When the Dominator visits the station for a refill, the lower platform slides away, instantly loading its 3D-printed funnels with all the dominos it needs to lay down 300 at once. In this way, downtime is kept at a minimum.
To put its final achievement in context, it would take a team of seven skilled domino builders about a full week to make the Super Mario Bros.-like mural the Dominator needed a little more than a day to complete.