Don’t get up, this fridge will toss you a cold beer

Eric Ferreri

DURHAM, N.C. (MCT) – John Cornwell’s latest invention is the stuff Super Bowl commercials are made of.

It is a dorm fridge with a twist. Push a button and it launches a cold, frosty brew your way.

Built as a goof, the contraption has brought Cornwell, a 22-year-old Duke graduate, an avalanche of attention since a video of it hit the Internet a couple weeks ago. Suddenly, he is the idol of couch potatoes everywhere.

“I think every guy has been in a comfortable position on the couch, watching a sporting event or whatever, and you really want a beer but you don’t want to get off the couch to get one,” said Cornwell, a software engineer in Atlanta. “It was as simple as that.”

Cornwell cut a hole in the top of a mini-fridge and attached a catapult powered by an electric motor. It took 100 to 150 hours to build, and about $500 worth of plastics, aluminum, gears and motors. Its range is about 15 feet. It can even rotate left and right via remote, which is great when your buddy on the loveseat across the room is thirsty.

Cornwell has a thing for launching stuff. He has built devices to send potatoes and tennis balls screaming through the air, but this is his first beer launcher. Video of it on his Web site,, has spurred more than 200 inquiries, and he is now figuring out whether he can make a living building and selling it.

The first time he tested his new invention, he put a 12-ounce dent in the wall.

And then there’s that other matter.

“The more beers you’ve had,” he points out, “the greater the chances of getting conked on the head with the next one.”