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Best from Waste Rube Goldberg Competition

Build a Rube Goldberg machine from household waste and recyclable materials!

March 7, 2021

You have six days to build a Rube Goldberg machine using household waste & recyclable materials. Please refrain from purchasing additional materials. You can participate individually or as a team of up to four members.

A Rube Goldberg Machine is an intentionally over-engineered machine designed to complete a simple task in an indirect or complex way. Confused? Watch this video of a winning submission.

In line with the “Best from Waste” theme, the final task of your machine will be to place a bottle into a trash bin. The final deliverable for the competition shall be a video, shot in one take, that showcases the entire machine in action.

The best three entries will receive $50, $35, and $25 gift cards, and there will be a raffle for an additional $15 gift card. You may submit your entry starting from March 1, 2021 until March 12, 2021. If you have any questions, please reach out to vgsaprog@usc.edu.

To summarize, here are the rules and guidelines for the Rube-Goldberg Machine:

  • At the end, the machine should put a bottle into a trash bin.
  • The bottle should be of either 0.5L or 1L capacity.
  • A proper “trash bin” is not required; even a plastic bag or tote bag would do.
  • The machine must include 6 pieces of “waste,” i.e. things which are not in use anymore. Examples include cardboard boxes and plastic bags.
  • Find different ways to use 3 bottle caps in the machine.
  • Steps may be repeated, but the length of the machine will be judged by the number of unique steps.
  • Please make a list of all the materials you used and mention them in the submission form.
  • The video should last no longer than 4 minutes.
  • Make sure all steps are visible in the video.
  • The video must be taken in one shot (i.e. no editing / splicing clips).

Submit your entries here.