April 10, 2016  

Purdue team places second at Rube Goldberg national championship

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Purdue Society of Professional Engineers took second place Saturday (April 9) at the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest national championship at the Center of Science and Industry.

Teams were required to design and build a complex machine designed to perform this year's simple everyday task of opening an umbrella. The University Wisconsin Barron County Future Engineers won the competition.

“We are very pleased to finish in second place,” said PSPE Purdue team president Rebecca Russell. “We had to overcome a lot of unusual obstacles this year as a team. But we were very competitive and worked hard since the regionals to have a machine that could win the national championship.”

Purdue Polytechnic Institute’s Association of Mechanical and Electrical Technicians team received the “Best Design” award for a machine that depicted a soldier’s escape through a rainforest. Judges appreciated the open views to each step that were reminiscent of a Rube Goldberg cartoon. They were also wowed by a trick golf shot that toppled a water dam.

Purdue chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers was praised for an innovative step that used vibrations generated by loud, “spooky house music” to topple an ancient building and trigger a sequence.

The machines are custom built and pay homage to the whimsy of contraptions created on paper by acclaimed cartoonist Rube Goldberg. The contest was first staged between rival engineering fraternities at Purdue more than 60 years ago. Purdue students launched the annual national intercollegiate contest in 1988. Last year Purdue became the first university to send two teams to the national finals and this year the first to send three teams.


Note to Journalists: Professional video and photographs of the Purdue machines are available at http://bit.ly/1quG365. For more information, to schedule interviews, or to book a machine or competitor(s) for a live or recorded media opportunity, contact Jim Schenke, Purdue News Service, 765-237-7296 or jschenke@purdue.edu

Writer: Jim Schenke, 765-237-7296, jschenke@purdue.edu

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