Feeds

Who needs flying cars when we can robotically sort Skittles?

And who said that American innovation was on the wane?

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Video One of life's most vexing chores has finally been roboticized: sorting those delectable candy pellets, Skittles, by color.

If you insist to The Reg that you've never separated a bag of Skittles – or, for that matter, their chocolaty analog, M&M's – into piles segregated by their purple, green, orange, red, and yellow hues, well, we simply won't believe you.

Electrical engineer Brian Egenriether apparently has. And he's also apparently enough of a geek – and we mean that in the most complimentary, celebratory way – to have thought to himself, as every visionary has, "There must be a better way."

And, thanks to him, there is: the Skittles Sorting Machine. As Egenriether explains in the notes to a YouTube video of the SSM in action, "It uses a BASIC Stamp 2 and 3 servos for actuation. An IR LED and phototransistor are used to stop the turnstile in position."

The act of sorting is simplicity itself. A color sensor assigns each individual Skittle an 8-bit RGB value, checks that result against Egenriether's preprogrammed Skittle-spectrum values, and then sends each tasty morsel into the appropriate bowl-aimed transfer tube.

Egenriether fabricated many of the SSM's parts out of epoxy, crafted the base from wood, and used a hummingbird feeder as the all-important Skittle-feeding funnel. "The rest is made from telescope parts and PVC," he says.

One question that will certainly occur in the mind any candy-minded consumer is, of course, "What about M&M's?" Although the color determination scheme would be identical, those delectables unfortunately come in six colors - blue, green, orange, red, yellow, and brown – and the SSM is limited to pentasorting. We can, however, still hope for a M&MSM sometime in the glorious future.

Referencing the Skittle marketeers' "Taste the Rainbow" slogan – inspiration for their rather surreal Experience the Rainbow promo website – the subtley named website Dude!!! I Want That... warns of possible legal action from the candymaker. "Egenriether is destroying Skittles' motherfucking rainbow!," they opine – emphasis theirs.

A legal challenge might come from another direction, they note. "Also, the ACLU doesn't like the sorter's segregational implications." ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft – A jolly little war for lunchtime
Free-to-play WoW turn-based game when you have 20 minutes to kill
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.