Rube Goldberg, or, Incredible Machines

Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist who came up with incredibly complicated machines for the most mundane of tasks. (You can get a sense of them from this gallery of his work.) He never built his machines, but others have certainly taken them as inspiration.

The Rube Goldberg competition is a national contest for high-school teams who construct a contraption to perform a simple task (put a stamp on an envelope, hammer a nail, put toothpaste on a toothbrush) in at least 20 steps of Rube Goldberg insanity. This year 183 teams competed!

Here are a few others we’ve seen and loved.

OK Go’s video for “This Too Shall Pass”

Life-Sized Mousetrap

How to Share a Coke

Have more examples? Share them in the comments, or catch us on @makerfairelou.


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