The victorious team is hopeful to again win the national title
The Ferris State Rube Goldberg team will be gearing up for 2010 with hopes of again winning the national title.
A Rube Goldberg is defined as a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary.
Ferris’ Rube Goldberg team took the national title three years ago with a mechanism that squeezed orange juice into a pitcher with a record tally of 315 steps. The previous record consisted of 242 steps.
The Rube Goldberg contest is named after the Pulitzer Prize winning artist Rube Goldberg whose “inventions” satirized new technologies.
The contest gained national recognition in 1988 when students at Purdue University became interested in the idea of the challenge-oriented project. In 1992, the first contest appeared when Beyond 2000 came to Purdue to film the event.
Team member and last year’s captain, Mike Dunakin, electrical engineering technology major, said the team is working for a comic artist. He said, “We’re doing a task that is complex and we are to make it as simple as possible.”
Last year, the challenge for the contest was to replace an incandescent light bulb with a more energy efficient light emitting design. For this year’s challenge, the team members must be able to dispense an appropriate amount of hand sanitizer into a hand.
Various past themes include setting up a golf tee and teeing up a golf ball, making a cup of coffee, shutting off an alarm clock and unlocking the combination on a padlock.
“We build a machine, take it down to Purdue University and the machine is judged based on a bunch of categories,” said Dunakin.
Areas of judging include complexity, performance, team spirit and the performance ability of the machine.
The team recently began to meet and discuss how they will prepare for the upcoming challenge. Dunakin said there have been people in and out the meetings.
For preparation, the team is working on machines for the regional’s tournament, which is on Feb. 20, 2010 at 10 a.m. in the Granger Center for Construction and HVARC building.
Dunakin, team captain, Bryan Williams, mechanical engineering technology major, and Kyle Hebrus, welding and engineering technology major, are some of the current members of the Rube Goldberg team. Tom Hollen, professor of mechanical engineering technology, is currently the advisor of the team.
After the 2007 national title win of the Rube Goldberg team, a documentary was made to highlight the team’s win. Not only did Ferris’ Rube Goldberg team beat out Purdue, but they also set a Guinness World Record during the process. The documentary, “Mousetrap to Mars”, is a true story of the world’s most complex machine that reflects the accomplishments of that win.
Ferris’ 2007 team also appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! after winning the contest.
This year’s national competition will be held on March 27, 2010 at Purdue University at 1:30 p.m.
There will also be a showing of “Mousetrap to Mars” in IRC 120 on Thursday, Dec. 3 from 6-8 p.m.
For more information on this year’s contest and its history, please visit rubegoldber.com.
As for the team ‘s outlook on the 2010 competition, Dunakin said, “Hopefully we’ll win.”