Events

Students Win Top Prizes in Engineering Competition

Contest Featured Innovative Ways to Pop a Balloon

RALEIGH, N.C. (November 23, 2019) - Teams of engineering students from Wake Tech and Durham Tech faced off today in a competition that literally gets wheels turning! The challenge: to design and build a “Rube Goldberg” machine that can perform a simple task in a not-so-simple way.

The Rube Goldberg Competition featured 74 teams of students working to create a machine that can pop a balloon. The creations had to be developed with at least five distinct steps and had to rely on principles of physics – gravity, force, mechanics, magnetism, sound waves, light, or electricity. They also had to incorporate safety features, keep within certain dimensions, and meet budget requirements.

The Air Heads, The Assemblers, and Killer Meme Squad, teams from Wake Tech, received first, second, and third place and took home cash prizes. Students documented the design process and wrote up reports as part of the assignment.

The Rube Goldberg Competition is the final team project for students in Intro to Engineering. It allows them to apply STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concepts to real-world projects and develop team-building skills in a creative and fun way. These students are pursuing the Associate in Engineering degree and planning to transfer to four-year institutions for further study.      

The annual event is named for Rube Goldberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and engineer whose work depicts elaborate contraptions of levers, pulleys, wheels and gears completing simple, everyday tasks.