A team of Purdue University engineers set a new world record. While you and I are able to pop a balloon in just one step, they built a Rube Goldberg machine that will do it in 300.
At one point in science class, everyone learns about Rube Goldberg contraptions and are challenge to build a complex device that will perform a simple task, such as knocking down the first in a series of dominoes, lighting a candle, or turning on a light switch. In fact, these machines are named after a popular World War II era cartoonist who would draw these gadgets for the amusement of readers everywhere. We have even seen them in television and in movies – Doc Brown uses a Rube Goldberg machine to start cooking breakfast and Pee-Wee does the same think in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Dexter’s Laboratory, Dead Like Me, The Goonies, and numerous computer games like Fallout 3 and Minecraft, have all demonstrated the power of Rube Goldberg machines.
Now a team of engineering students at Purdue University set a new record by creating the “Largest functional Rube Goldberg machine” – 300 steps to pop a single balloon.
In receiving this record, the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers were able to best themselves as they had set the previous record at 244 steps. The team got the current record set by the World Records Academy and are waiting on receiving verification from the Guinness Book of World Records.
The team broke their own record at the National Rube Goldberg Machine Competition in March.
It is a lot of fun watching this contraption at work, which does everything include toast a piece of bread to activate a watermill!
In total, the 14 member team worked on this project for about six months and spent a mind boggling 5,000 hours putting it all together. The goal was not even to break their own record but just display their mechanical knowledge and solve a simple task in a comical and whimsical way.
but the group of engineers from Purdue are not done yet. With their ambition continuing to drive them, they are now in the midst of building a life-sized Rube Goldberg contraption at Peddler’s Village in Pennsylvania to further promote the Rube Goldberg Challenge on July 14, 2012, which is open to college and high school students as well as groups of families and friends.