December 17, 2007
An illustration of Rube Goldberg's work shows Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin. Photo courtesy www.rube-goldberg.com.
Need a gadget that will snap a picture for you? Tee up a golf ball without bending over? Help you dodge bill collectors?
Rube Goldberg devised these nonsensical devices and many others in his famous cartoons. His machines used complicated and often absurd processes to complete simple tasks.
Each fall semester Texas Tech civil engineering students have their own chance at devising Rube Goldberg machines. In Civil Engineering Seminar (CE 1130), taught by instructor and researcher Phil Nash, nearly 40 teams of engineering students accepted the challenge to develop machines to leverage a solid wooden cube onto a tall block. The machines had to contain at least two moving parts and incorporate at least eight steps in the process.
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