Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Image

Purdue Claims World Record Goldberg Machine 79

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-complex dept.
With 244 steps The Time Machine, built by by members of the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, took first place and broke a world record at the 24th Annual National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. From the article: "It starts with the Big Bang, re-creates the extinction of the dinosaurs, holds a jousting competition, flips over an album, and simulates World War II, a shuttle launch, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and even the alleged apocalypse in 2012. In its precisely executed review of history, 'The Time Machine,' a Rube Goldberg contraption built by members of the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, incorporates a record-breaking 244 steps—all to water a single flower."

*

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Purdue Claims World Record Goldberg Machine

Comments Filter:
  • by proverbialcow (177020) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @03:52PM (#35885236) Journal
    It should at least break something at the end...so there's a BIG CRUNCH!

    Thanks, I'll be here all weekend. Be sure to tip your waitstaff.
  • by Genrou (600910) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @03:53PM (#35885240)
    ... the answer was 42.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't think that the steps to the end are useless enough to be a goldberg machine. Everything it does presents a sort of storyline, so it is more of a mechanical play. It's just too useful, or perhaps not abstract enough.

    • by spud603 (832173)
      I agree. It was complex, sure, but somehow unsatisfying as a goldberg machine. It was unclear exactly how each step led to the next, so it felt more like some behind-the-scenes machinery was making the story go.
      • by ELitwin (1631305)
        I was about to make the same point.
        It seems like there was something controlling the timeline marker that was independent of everything else going on.
      • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @07:10PM (#35886744)

        It was. I watched this one live at the regional competition. Each step was started with a electromechanical actuator and each one ended on a switch. Each of the stages had microswitches when it was 'reset' and the back panel had lights that lit up when the stage was reset. It allowed it to be debugged easily and if a stage got stuck they could skip it with the switches.

  • "To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk."
  • by chill (34294) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @04:04PM (#35885332) Journal

    With efficiencies like that, they have a bright future in government.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ...or any other Fortune 1000 company, business or IT consulting, etc.

  • Lego Machine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShavedOrangutan (1930630) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @04:06PM (#35885346)
    On Makezine yesterday:

    http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2011/04/elaborate-and-mesmerizing-lego-great-ball-contraption.html [makezine.com]

    This is eight minutes of pure awesome.
    • That was impressive. I wish I had that much Lego. Too bad they didn't separate the balls earlier and have two separate paths for them through the entire machine rather than just the one dual conveyor belt into the same bin.
    • by pugugly (152978)

      Or the Lego Antikythera Mechanism [youtube.com]

      *that* is my idea of cool - Pug

  • This one leaves me unimpressed. It's more of a puppet show with some random steel balls rolling around and water being poured. The really captivating RG machines use everyday objects and simple geometrical shapes to achieve complex interactions.
    • by inputdev (1252080)

      The really captivating RG machines use everyday objects and simple geometrical shapes to achieve complex interactions.

      not to mention clever uses of potential energy like pails falling down that are attached to a pulley bringing something back up so that it can fall down again. This seemed like a sequence of motors being driven by a battery...

    • the mythbusters did a better job if they had more time it would not of failed as much as it did.

    • This one leaves me unimpressed. It's more of a puppet show with some random steel balls rolling around and water being poured. The really captivating RG machines use everyday objects and simple geometrical shapes to achieve complex interactions.

      I quite agree! Unfortunately, from the article :

      The simplest-looking modules, such as the flower-blossoming finale, turned out to be deceptively intricate. That step begins with a rubber duck in a water tank behind the scenes. As the duck sinks, it pulls a weight, wh

    • by NoseyNick (19946)
      I much prefer the OK GO one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w [youtube.com]
  • I don't get it. I can understand having separate cultural student groups when the goal is to celebrate your culture, but is there any reason why Hispanics need their own separate Engineer society? Is there something different about Hispanic engineering or does this mean the Society of Professional Engineers excludes Hispanics? Can't we all just get along?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Note the complete lack of Hispanics in the picture and lack of Hispanic names in the article. It's probably just a way to apply for minority grants and such.

    • yeah there is a difference, Hispanic engineering gets you more woman than Caucasian engineering

    • But make a "White Engineers" club, and suddenly you're a racist...
    • They don't NEED such a group, but the reason minorities form such groups is for several reasons. One is Networking, which will help you secure a good job, Another is to encourage more people in that minority group to enter the profession; e.g. The Society of Women Engineers.

    • by sg_oneill (159032)

      I don't get it. I can understand having separate cultural student groups when the goal is to celebrate your culture, but is there any reason why Hispanics need their own separate Engineer society? Is there something different about Hispanic engineering or does this mean the Society of Professional Engineers excludes Hispanics? Can't we all just get along?

      Uh. To encourage hispanic people to enter the field and provide professional development for them? Hispanic folk have found themselves facing a lot more employment discrimination and education discrimination than regular white folk and so felt it necessary to put a club together to try and fix that.

      Or are you just angry about hispanics for some reason?

    • sit down you might not be ready to hear this.

      there is still racism in business, and most business dudes are not hispanic

      i know i know. i told you you should have sat down.

    • Didn't you get the memo? Racism is O.K. as long as you're not white.

    • I was in SHiPE in college. No big deal, just an organization trying to advance an underrepresented group in the engineering field. I can assure you the parties were way better than AIChE or ASME (and definitely better than SWE). In any case, relax. We can't all take your jobs. (or can we?)
  • by RapmasterT (787426) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @04:35PM (#35885544)
    The video lost all perspective of what a Rube Goldberg machine is about. The edits, cuts, overly zoomed and segmented action completely invalidates the purpose of the exercise. Was it a seamless execution of 244 sequential steps...or was it 244 individual actions filmed and edited together...can't tell from the video can ya. There's at least one segment that had a clear failure (the ice age downhill slalom jammed).

    All in all, it was (probably) a great engineering effort that was ruined by someone trying to exercise clever video skills.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's a much better take available at Purdue's newsroom [purdue.edu]. It looks like it didn't run quite perfectly, though (the timeline arrow never hit the end).

  • Ugly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @04:36PM (#35885560)
    The amount of electrical devices (drills, actuators, etc) that are merely switched on and the seeming lack of creativity with the items in the machine makes it ugly, imo. That and the large amounts of spray-paint.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I must say.. Honda's is way better.

    There's WAY too much machine here, not enough physics. Drop a ball, hit this switch, pull this string. I'm sure it took a lot of hard work, but it's not impressive at all IMO.

  • ... can be found here [youtube.com]

  • 244 steps seems like way too few. Oh. This is not software development quality assurance, just students playing. Wait until they see the Rube Goldberg processes out here in the real world. They will probably retreat back into MBA school in horror.
  • I have never thought that a Goldberg machine can be actually partially useful such as teaching history (albeit very loosely).

    Maybe they should create a new class of Goldberg machines to provide some educational purpose ;)

    - JsD

  • I once built an apple from scratch.

  • by Bloody Peasant (12708) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @09:06PM (#35887466) Homepage
    ... the OK Go [youtube.com] Rube Goldberg machine. It will be a long time before anyone beats that.
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @09:17PM (#35887526) Journal

    Next up to conquer is virtual RGM's......oh wait, MS-Office.

  • For full effect, you need Raymond Scott's Powerhouse playing in the background when watching this (or any other) Rub Goldberg machine.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9-7uLg-DZU [youtube.com]

  • I was under the impression that an authentic rube goldberg device had to involve at least one live animal in the process. (from the rube goldberg cartoons)

    No such requirement seems evident in the contest.

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.

Working...