The 2011 Rube Goldberg competition tasked college students to create an overly complex device in the spirit of the famous cartoonists that completes an everyday task. This year, students were challenged to water a flower in as many steps as possible. The team from Purdue University did not win the competition–that honor went to the team at UW-Stout–but they beat the previous Rube Goldberg world record with a total of 244 steps when they got their machine up and running after the competition ended.
The device shows the entirety of existence — from the big bang to the forthcoming apocalypse — and has many a bouncing ball bearing, and mechanized madness along the way. Congratulations to the winning team, and your prizes are, I’m sure, in the mail. Unfortunately, the delivery process will take well over 200 steps, so don’t hold your breath.
UPDATE: A reader informs us that we were incorrect in stating that Purdue University won the Rube Goldberg competition. University of Wisconsin-Stout took first place in the competition, with Penn State taking second, and the University of Texas in third. We apologize for our mistake, and extend our congratulations to the winning teams.