In myth and comics, the Norse god Thor carries a hammer, Mjolnir, that can only be wielded by the worthy. But here on Midgard — I mean Earth — items than can only be lifted by one man are a lot more rare, which isn't to say that they're impossible.
Behold, for electrical engineer Allen Pan created a Mjolnir of his own, though he's yet to make it shoot lightning.
In the video, "Real Mjolnir (Electromagnet, Fingerprint Scanner)," numerous people attempt to lift the hammer from the ground with little success. A girl does get it to wobble, but not much more than that.
Pan is the host of a YouTube channel called Sufficiently Advanced, as in the quote by the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Given he describes his channel as "I try to make pretend things into real things!" the quote matches appearance of magic on screen.
There's little magic to be seen in this video, however. It's a trick, and there's some interesting science to it.
The answer can be found in this scene from the Avengers: Age of Ultron, when scientist-billionaire Tony Stark, after having failed to lift Mjolnir himself, says that the hammer must have a fingerprint scanner.
The scanner, plus a capacitive touch sensor and a powerful microwave oven electromagnet, keeps the hammer glued to any bolted down piece of metal when he's not holding it.
When a stranger attempts to deem themselves worthy of his hammer, the sensors in the hammer turn on the electromagnet. Pan can then turn it off by scanning his fingerprint.
The video has since gone viral with more than 2 million views, and Pan's hammer has attracted a few fans of its own.
Superhero weapons with real superpowers! I want to be worthy! http://t.co/2ehrHdPZAW— @donttrythis
Someone made an irl Mjölnir NICE— @marianne3005
But not even Thor's hammer comes without loopholes. In the Marvel comics and films, Thor has, from time to time, been deemed to be unworthy of Mjolnir, leaving another hero to pick it up.
In the current Marvel comics story, another character has taken control of the hammer entirely.
Unless someone reprograms Pan's hammer, he won't find himself suddenly unworthy of his own prank — but it does have a fatal flaw: If you don't touch the handle, you can simply slide it off the metal surface.
The loophole and the hammer go to show that sometimes brains are better than brawn.
sings on the timeline pic.twitter.com/uLxpUSLHYC— @mead_n_mjolnir