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Airdate: Jul 04, 2011
Scientist: Bart Hopkin

Spritzer Whizzer

Spritzer Whizzer
A third-grader has designed the "Spritzer Whizzer" - a new musical instrument made from water spay bottles. The Ode to Joy never sounded like this!

Ambience - Ode to Joy being played on Water Spritzer

It's not every day that you get see and hear a new musical instrument come to life right before your eyes. I'm Jim Metzner and this is Pulse of the Planet.

Bart Hopkin: What it is, is a set of water-spritzers, spraying into a set of tuned tin cans, with a very clever system for recycling the water from the can back to the spritzers.

That's Bart Hopkin, an inventor of many musical instruments. But the inventor of this musical instrument is 9 year old Merrie Benjamin, one of the winner's of this year's KSC, our free nation-wide competition for 3rd to 6th graders. One of Merrie's prizes was to visit with Bart Hopkin at his workshop and create her instrument.

Merrie Benjamin: This is the spritzer whizzer. You have this spray bottle (demonstrates- spray sound) and you spray into a can or cup most prefer the can. It drains out through these tubes and goes back into the bottle.

Bart Hopkin: Merrie came here to my workshop with the job of building this instrument and we discussed a bunch of details should we do it this way or that way as we went along. She came up with her thoughts about how she wanted to do it and we did it! One of the biggest problems was to get the water to recycle without leaks. We managed to find a way that had a mixture of tape and glue that was "kid-doable",, to set up these tubes that returns the water to the spritzers without it leaking all over the place. That was probably the part that took the most time. The other part that was the most work was selecting and tuning the cans.

You can see pictures of the Spritzer Whizzer on our website, pulseoftheplanet.org. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.