I spotted this on Bill Gurstelle’s Notes from the Technology Underground site – looks like a fun contest!
Rube Goldberg Contest
What is the competition?
Inspired by cartoonist Rube Goldberg, college students nationwide compete to design a machine that uses the most complex process to complete a simple task – put a stamp on an envelope, screw in a light bulb, make a cup of coffee – in 20 or more steps.
The competition is sponsored by the Purdue University campus chapter of Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity.
When are the 2006 contests?
The 2006 Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest was held at 10:30 a.m. March 4 in the Purdue University Armory. The 2006 National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest will be at 10:30 a.m. to approximately 1:00 p.m. April 1 in the Purdue University Armory. The events are free and open to the public.
What is the 2006 task
Machines will be required to individually cut or shred five sheets of 20 pound, 8 1/2-x-11-inch paper in a minimum of 20 steps.
What was the 2005 task
Machines will be required to remove two batteries from a flashlight, replace them and turn on the flashlight in a minimum of 20 steps.
More info on the Rube Goldberg Contest at Purdue – Link.