The Super Mario Effect
When 50,000 of Mark Rober's 3 million YouTube subscribers participated in a basic coding challenge, the data all pointed to what Rober has dubbed the Super Mario Effect. The YouTube star and former NASA engineer describes how this data-backed mindset for life gamification has stuck with him along his journey, and how it impacts the ways he helps (or tricks) his viewers into learning science, engineering, and design. Mark Rober has made a career out of engineering, entertainment, and education. After completing degrees in mechanical engineering from Brigham Young University and the University of Southern California, Rober joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2004. In his nine years as a NASA engineer, seven of which were on the Mars rover Curiosity team, Rober worked on both the Descent Stage (the jet pack that lowered the Rover to the surface) and some hardware on the Rover top deck for collecting samples. In 2011, Rober’s iPad-based Halloween costume helped launch both his creative costume company, Digital Dudz, and his YouTube channel, which now boasts 3 million subscribers and 400 million views. His videos focus on creative ideas and science- and engineering-based pranks and activities. Rober is a regular guest on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!". Today, he does research and development work for a large technology company in Northern California, where he lives with his wife and son. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.