Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist who drew very elaborate and wacky designs for performing simple tasks. These were deliberately over-engineered or overdone devices that performed a very simple task in a very complex fashion. In fact, the dictionary defines Rube Goldberg as follows: Of, relating to, or being a contrivance that brings about by complicated means what apparently could have been accomplished simply.
Your team (3 or 4 people) will build a Rube Goldberg device. You will compete against the other teams in the class.
Educational Goal: To gain experience in the following: executing the design process, making simple devices that work, utilizing a decision matrix, logging design activities
- Your team must develop the goal (simple task) of your device.
- Your device must complete at least 10 distinct steps.
- The entire process must be completed in 5 minutes.
- Your device may be any size, but you must be able to transport it in and out of the room, and your team must be able to set up the entire apparatus within 15 minutes.
- You must use at least 3 different energy sources. You may not use any energy source that poses a physical threat to observers. If you have questions, ask the instructor. Your team will be disqualified if your device is considered unsafe or dangerous.
- The operator may not impart significant motion to a beginning object, and therefore may not be considered an energy source.
- No live or formerly live animals.
- No lewd, profane, or indecent expressions or images. No commercial logos.
- No team is required to spend any money, but if you do, you may not spend more than $20 per team. Before making any purchases, agree upon all expenses and how the team will divide the cost.
- Any materials may be used, within reason.
If using liquid(s), ALL liquid(s) must be 100% contained.
- NO fire.
- NO weapons (review the NAU weapons policy).
- DO NOT hang anything from the overhead pipes.
- DO NOT stack tables and/or chairs.
- DO NOT use the surface of the mobile whiteboards as a platform.
Tips: First, decide what your device will do. There are plenty of examples of machines on the internet, but use your own eyes and ears while you go through your day. Brainstorm goal ideas with your team. Second, decide on what energy sources your team will use (the energy sources can change as you construct and test the device). Lastly, develop the steps your device will go through.