This project dates back to 2009, but it’s entirely new to me: the HPS Hamstar is a hamster-powered submarine constructed out of a 3-liter bottle, a hamster wheel, and a few other household materials (with a total cost of $57). Its maiden voyage—documented above—was powered by Houdina, now in retirement after a single trip in the submersible. According to the creator of the HPS Hamstar, “the major difference between steam power and hamster power is that you don’t have to shovel hamsters into a furnace.” All joking aside, one of the objectives of the project was that “the life and well being of the hamster must not be compromised in any way.” [via Neatorama]

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.

  • Anonymous

    Interestingly, in the Falklands when they were whaling, they needed fuel to melt down the blubber to make whale oil. There is a lack of trees so they need a fuel. They ended up using penguins and throwing another penguin on the fire. I’m sure if they had large source of hamsters they would have done the same. 

    • Alan Dove

      I smell bullshit. Or do you have a citation? For 19th century whaling ships, blubber rendering was a self-sustaining process. Once a batch of blubber yielded up its oil, whalers were left with a pile of highly flammable solid scraps, which they threw into the fire to continue heating the try-pot for the next batch. I seriously doubt that whole penguins would be a very efficient fuel. At the very least, they’d have to be gutted, which seems like major a waste of effort considering the easy availability of tried-out blubber scraps.

  • Anonymous

    That’s one small spin of a wheel for a hamster, but one giant spin of the wheel for hamsterkind!

    • Matt Richardson

      Or as one YouTube commenter put it: “To boldly go where no hamster has gone before…”

  • Darryl Pearle

    This is very irresponsible and shameful. How many idiots are going to abuse hamsters, gerbils etc to play with this idea? What’s the use of it? It’s sick and disgusting that people see animals as things to be used in this way.

    • baio

      I agree, very irresponsible to post something like this on YouTube for 5 minutes of fame…

  • VRAndy

    That’s fantastic.
    Next someone needs to do a pair of wings.

  • Rahere

    Normal subs started very similarly: the Drebbel and Hunley boats were both human-powered,  and some suggestions of earlier craft were not dissimilar.

  • Anonymous

    I am not entirely sure what to make of it. What is actually powered by the hamster wheel?
    I guess for the hamster this enclosure is not much worse than a habitrail cage, and at least he doesn’t have to stay in that contraption for too long.

    The hamster does seem to panic though (Hamsters run either for pleasure or out of fear, in this case, being tugged about in a bottle I guess he’s frightened)…. Then again pretty much anything a child does with a hamster will freighten him…