Inventions: Heath Robinson, eat your heart out
A team of geeks has devoted 5,000 man hours over six months to building a van-sized contraption designed to do nothing more complicated than pop a single balloon. Because, well, why not?
Their record-breaking Rube Goldberg machine, shown off on YouTube this week, involves 300 steps, which run in an automated chain reaction lasting for two minutes. It includes an orange juicer, a burger-assembly station and pencil sharpener.
When a comedy hand pierces the balloon, the reaction of the competitors in an annual Rube Goldberg Machine contest at Purdue University in Indiana could only have been more fevered had they landed their device on the moon.
But who was this Rube and why do garage dwellers as well as ad men with million-pound budgets get so excited about machines whose point is to be pointless?
Goldberg was America's Heath Robinson. His cartoons showed complex devices completing simple tasks. After his death in 1970, the devices leapt from the page into three dimensions. Purdue launched its contest in 1987 and in 2003 Goldberg inspired Cog, the award-winning Honda advert that featured dozens of moving car parts.
See the balloon: ind.pn/watchrube
Life & Style blogs
- 1 Cameron's freebie to apartheid South Africa
- 2 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 3 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 4 Australian ultra-nationalist politician Stephanie Banister in car crash immigration TV interview
- 5 People will try to reduce Mandela to a lilting reggae tune about ‘love’. They will fail
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# .NET...
£30 - £32 per hour + free parking: PCR Recruitment Limited: World's Leading Cl...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: PCR Recruitment Limited: Server Side Dev...
£450 - £500 per day: PCR Recruitment Limited: Broadcast Systems Architect - Fi...