Purdue hosts Rube Goldberg competition

Area students come together every year to test their ingenuity.

Posted: Feb. 17, 2018 10:44 PM
Updated: Feb. 17, 2018 11:35 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)—Each year, Purdue University hosts a Rube Goldberg competetion to promote STEM skills.
Hadar Artzi said, it's not just for college students though.

"It's our way of serving the community, serving the students of Purdue, like the surrounding high schools so that's kind of why we put it on."

Teams receive a set of rules with anywhere from 25 to 75 tasks. This year's ultimate goal was to pour cereal into a bowl. 
Lauren Heiss said it's more challenging than it sounds.

"Sometimes there will be things going on on one side, and other actions going on the other so you have to make sure you're looking at the thing as a bigger picture," said Heiss. "Then paying attention to what's going on at all times."

While the refs and judges watch intently, Melanie Kregg and her team like to take advantage of the feedback they receive after each round.

"Personally we always talk to the judges to find out what we can do better."

Kregg takes that feedback to her team after each round. 

"I've been doing this for three years now and just watching the machine grow, we make it look more polished we make stuff more reliable, and we learn from our mistakes the previous year."

But their growth comes at a price.

"I think we were in the shop till about one am the last night that we had."

The room was filled with parents and friends of the teams, including Mike Barrett, who works in Cleveland for NASA.
His involvement stems from the very first event in 1988.

"My favorite part about the contest is when you're watching the machine run the people that built it, you'll always know the steps that maybe don't always work so well because if it does work they're sitting there going YES!"

He's excited for the future of the program.

"And the fact that they're opening it up to other age groups is great so I think that that's a nice aspect of it."

In the end, Jacob Villager said relationships and friendships are just as important as building the best machine for each competition.

"All going into one good team at the end is always enjoyable to be a part of."

Today's event featured teams from Purdue University and Kouts, Anderson, and Homestead high schools. It took place at the Ross Camp Dining Hall in West Lafayette.

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