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The wonders of Rube Goldberg machines

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Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012 3:40 pm

Springtime feels like science season on the schools beat. So many Science Olympiads, Science Bowls, Science Fairs and other science competitions are doling out the awards for a whole year of hard work right about now. 

Science savvy kids might enjoy this video I discovered today through Twitter. Engineers at Purdue University created a Rube Goldberg machine to blow up and pop a balloon. Sounds like an easy task, right? 

Not quite. These guys took 300 steps to make it happen, in under two minutes and in a six foot by six foot by six foot space. It's crazy cool. 

If you've never heard of a Rube Goldberg machine, the idea is to complete a simple task with a really complicated solution. It's named for a famous cartoonist who drew silly drawings of elaborate solutions for simple problems like how to get the cotton out of an aspirin bottle. 

Rube himself never created any one his inventions. But his drawings inspired the work of engineers around the world. The machines start with one burst of energy and keep moving through the final solution. 

The team from Purdue didn't win this year's contest, but they are working with the Guinness Book of World Record for Rube Goldberg machine with the most steps. 

Here's a link to the video!

And a link to the team's home page.




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