Lehigh Valley engineers compete in regional machine contest

March 15, 2016

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Members of the Penn State Lehigh Valley Engineering Club competed in front of more than 300 people at the Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Competition at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on Feb. 27.

Members of the Lehigh Valley team included Christian Young, a mechanical engineering major; Nathan Evans and Alec Kies, both chemical engineering majors; Alexander Velopolak, an aerospace engineering major; and Hal Scholz, instructor in physics and engineering at Penn State Lehigh Valley.

The annual competition challenges students to use innovative ideas, unconventional problem-solving skills and storytelling to design a machine that completes a simple task in a complex manner. The 2016 national challenge was to design and build a machine that opens an umbrella in 20 or more steps.

Teams were scored on a 100-point scale on two runs of their machine, based on the following criteria: machine design (everyday items, laugh barometer, theme or story, artistry and construction and absurd complexity) and machine runs (reliability and repeatability). Points were deducted for rule violations and out-of-bounds objects.

The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is named after the late artist and cartoonist Reuben Lucius Goldberg, who created cartoons in the mid-1900s that combined simple machines and common household items to create wacky contraptions that accomplished trivial tasks.

For more information, contact Kaley Ebling at 610-285-5262.

Last Updated March 15, 2016