Technology

10 of the Most Brilliant Rube Goldberg Machines

September 18, 2015 | Kelly Tatera

A metal ball about to trigger a fan that will blow a weather vane.
Photo credit: (c) 2D House

Rube Goldberg inspired an era of innovative contraptions, and these are some of the most amazing designs.

Rube Goldberg, best known for his prize-winning cartoons that depict complicated devices performing the most simple of tasks, inspired inventors and engineers around the world to bring these machines to life and add their own flair.

Prepare to be astonished by these 10 mind-boggling Rube Goldberg creations.

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1.  3M Brand Machine

3M built an impressive Rube Goldberg machine using the invisible forces of physics, thermodynamics, chemistry, and energy to create this ingenious contraption. The invention leads up to a grand finale — a cascade of thousands of colorful post-it notes.

 

2.  The Page Turner

Brooklyn-based artist Joseph Herscher presents The Page Turner. The invention is set off in such a simple yet beautiful way — he takes a sip of his coffee while reading the paper, and by the time he’s done reading the page, the machine turns it for him. Genius. There’s even a live guinea pig involved in this one.

 

3.  Isaac Newton vs. Rube Goldberg

Made by 2D House, this Goldberg invention flows incredibly smoothly, and amazingly, it seems to defy the laws of gravity. Goldberg: 1, Newton: 0.

 

4.  Target Fresh Machine Rube Goldberg

From broccoli dangling off floating balloons to cheese-grater dominoes, this fresh contraption begs the question of whether putting a tomato on a burger should be done any other way.

 

5.  Ok Go - This Too Shall Pass - Rube Goldberg Machine

After OK Go wowed us with the creative treadmill music video for their hit song “Here It Goes Again,” we all knew we could expect great things from them. But they took it to the next level with their clever Rube Goldberg inspired music video for “This Too Shall Pass.”

 

6.  Rube Goldberg Photobooth

This quirky Rube Goldberg Photobooth uses a number of materials, from dominoes and marbles to plastic water bottles and tennis balls, all to perform the simple task of snapping a photograph. The cycle is oddly satisfying, leaving you with the feeling that you end up right where you started.

 

7.  The Athlete Machine

Leave it to Red Bull to incorporate pro skateboarding, extreme biking, insane race car driving, and helicopters into their Rube Goldberg invention. Oh, and they kick off the creation with some casual skydiving. The athletic skill and creative genius put into this Rube Goldberg invention is downright impressive.

 

8.  2D Rube Goldberg Machine

Another mind-blowing contraption by 2D House, this Goldberg machine is centered around photography. How do you take your portraits? Certainly not as remarkably as this. The invention is utterly brilliant.

 

9.  Purdue University Rube Goldberg machine

Purdue University astonishingly created an evolutionary “Time Machine” with its Rube Goldberg machine, illustrating the history of the world from the Big Bang to the Apocalypse. In 2011, this impressive invention broke the world record for most steps successfully completed by a machine.

 

10.  Melvin the Magical Mixed Media Machine 

Meet Melvin. This crazy contraption includes everything from balloons and bowling balls to a rapid trail of fire set ablaze. Unlike other Rube Goldberg machines that exist to complete a simple task, Melvin “has an identity,” and his only purpose is to promote itself.

 

While Rube Goldberg machines exist to accomplish such simple, straightforward tasks, the beauty lies in the dichotomy of their complexity. So much creativity, precision, and engineering is put into each invention. Rube Goldberg’s legacy sparked a truly unique revolution of art, science, and technology.

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