Student teams ready to compete at annual machine contest

At a time when hand sanitizer is practically everywhere at Penn State, four engineering student teams will face off to see who has developed the most imaginative way to dispense the germ fighter at the Penn State Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Alumni Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center.

This year's national challenge requires teams to build a complex machine that dispenses an appropriate amount of hand sanitizer into a hand. The machines must complete a minimum of 20 steps, the wackier the better, in less than two minutes. Teams will be judged on two separate runs of their machine by members of the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society, which sponsors the event.

The contest is free and open to the public and doors will open at 12:30 p.m.

The winning team will receive $300 and a trophy, and will be eligible to represent Penn State at the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at Purdue University on March 27.

The national event is held annually by Theta Tau at Purdue University. This "Olympics of Complexity" is designed to pull students away from conventional problem-solving and push them into using their imagination and intuitive thought.

The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is named after cartoonist Reuben Lucius Goldberg, who created cartoons that combined simple machines and common household items to create complex contraptions that accomplished trivial tasks.

For more information on the Penn State Rube Goldberg Machine Contest visit http://www.engr.psu.edu/RubeGoldberg/ or to view pictures from previous contests visit http://www.facebook.com/psuengineering online.

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Last Updated February 23, 2010