A clip from the Rube Goldberg Challenge at Union College Engineering.

I'm an engineer myself, and I joined my engineer buddy C. early Saturday morning to find out what crazy inventions those kids came up with. They didn't disappoint, there was a lot of work on display. Enjoy the fun science, youngsters, enjoy!

The challenge this year was: The Spring Ping Fling Thing
The machine must throw and catch ping pong balls, include 20 or more steps and 5 different energy conversions, within a 5 feet cube max. The machine must complete a full cycle in no more than 5 minutes. A full cycle includes a first run to completion of the task, a complete reset, and a second run to completion of the task.

Some background on the competion and Rube Goldberg Machines:

Very few machines completed a full run unassisted, but there was a lot of creativity involved. The only machine I saw perform from start to finish without human intervention featured a minimum number of steps; obviously as good an engineering lesson as any :)

Sorry for the poorly stabilized video; it was pretty much impossible to get a good angle behind the judges, and a lot was going on at each station. I figured a good Rube Goldberg video would involve shooting either the same run from different cameras, or several takes of different runs from different angles with the same camera; in both case, leave the camera on a damn tripod. There just wasn't any opportunity to set that up.

Photos on Flickr:

Shot on a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 24-105mm f/4.0 L

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