Purdue Rube Goldberg Machine Shatters World RecordBy danseitz
OK, so they’re useless and silly. That’s the entire point of a Rube Goldberg machine. They also let engineering students show off their prowess in a cheap and usually non-fatal way (a moment of silence for those who did not survive the tragic dihydrogen monoxide explosion at the 1995 Rube Goldberg Championships, please). And some students at Purdue have just creamed the world record with a machine that shows the entire course of human history, right up to the Apocalypse.
David Cannon, Alex Weaver and Matt Miller, members of the engineering fraternity Theta Tau, were handed the task of building a complex machine to do something simple, using at least twenty steps. They wound up creating a machine that uses 232 steps, two more than the current world record of 230.
The machine in action is really something to see, combining water flows, rolling balls, dropping weights, and light bulbs to create one of the more elaborate shows you’ll see. The guys should be proud of what they pulled off.
Alas, in the contest itself, they were beaten out by the defending champion, University of Wisconsin-Stout, who had a machine that told the story of ghosts haunting an abandoned Louisiana mansion. But they didn’t win a world record, so Purdue comes away with the better deal in our estimation.