Rube Goldberg’s Granddaughter is Asking You to Build a Machine That Drops a Bar of Soap into Your Hand

Engineer and cartoonist Rube Goldberg was renowned for illustrating overly-complex machines that were designed exclusively for simple household tasks.

Now, his granddaughter Jennifer George is inviting architects and engineers of all ages to make their own Rube Goldberg Machine while they are at home in quarantine.

Although participants in this year’s Rube Goldberg Machine Contest were originally supposed to design a machine that turned on a light switch, the novel coronavirus outbreaks inspired George to task participants with building a machine that drops a bar of soap into someone’s hand in just 10 to 20 steps.

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“It just seemed like the right task,” George told CBC. “Everyone has got a bar of soap somewhere in their house. And Rube Goldberg machines are made from everyday objects. So you don’t have to go shopping. You don’t have to buy anything.

“You just have to figure out a fun, sort of interesting way to [take] something you’ve looked at for years, turn it upside down and see if it has inherent kinetic properties. And hopefully it does.”

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The annual contest, which is free and open to all ages, requires participants to take a continuous video of their machine in action. Once the video is uploaded to YouTube, participants can send the links to the Rube Goldberg website.

The contest will be open to international submissions until May 31st, after which three machine designs will be selected as the winners in mid-June. In addition to the winners being featured as the star engineers of the contest on the Rube Goldberg website, they will also receive a free swag bag from the organization.

(WATCH the contest introduction video below)

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