The Science Channel’s Street Science in Ybor: Building a better mousetrap car (VIDEO)

Seventh Avenue was closed for several hours this afternoon for a TV test drive.

click to enlarge OF MICE AND MEN: Waiting to test mousetrap technology on Seventh. - David Warner
David Warner
OF MICE AND MEN: Waiting to test mousetrap technology on Seventh.

The Science Channel's Street Science series is all about the kinds of experiments familiar to high school science classes, blown up into "larger-than-life demos," according to the series' website, "combining scientific method with curiosity and plain old-fashioned ingenuity." In the past, these experiments have yielded "a man-made fire tornado" and leaf blowers repurposed as hovercrafts (!), but the Science team's street experiment in Ybor involved something a bit less incendiary: a vehicle that snapped into action via the old-fashioned propulsion of a giant mousetrap.

I watched one trial run today as cameras tracked both the car and passersby's reactions. While movement did occur, the vehicle's progress down Seventh did not approach anything like speed — no threat to a Prius, nor to the average skateboarder, for that matter. But it was fun to contemplate, and reminded at least one bystander of a similar DIY car he made in school with drinking straws — which probably went faster and did not require closure of a city street.

The episode of Street Science featuring the mousetrap car will be broadcast in November.


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