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College nostalgia inspires beer-tossing fridge

first_imgWith a click of the remote, fashioned from a car’s keyless entry device, a small elevator inside the refrigerator lifts a beer can through a hole and loads it into the fridge’s catapult arm. A second click fires the device, tossing the beer up to 20 feet. Is there a foam explosion when the can is opened? Not if the recipient uses “soft hands” to cradle the can when caught, Cornwell said. In developing his beer catapult, Cornwell said he dented a few walls and came close to accidentally throwing a can through his television. He’s since fine-tuned the machine to land a beer where he usually sits, on what he called “a right-angle couch system.” For now, the machine throws only cans, although Cornwell has thought about making a version that can throw a bottle. When John Cornwell graduated from Duke University last year, he landed a job as a software engineer in Atlanta but soon found himself longing for his college lifestyle. So the engineering graduate built a contraption to help remind him of campus life: a refrigerator that can toss a can of beer to his couch with the click of a remote control. “I conceived it right after I got out,” said Cornwell, a May 2006 graduate from Huntington, N.Y. “I missed the college scene. It embodies the college spirit that I didn’t want to let go of.” It took the 22-year-old Cornwell about 150 hours and $400 in parts to modify a mini-fridge common to many college dorm rooms into the beer-tossing machine, which can launch 10 cans of beer from its magazine before needing a reload. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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