You have 24 hours to create your best and most unique Rube Goldberg Machine using materials currently available to you. Going out to acquire more supplies is strongly discouraged! This competition requires creativity and curiosity to repurpose your household items. Housemate participation is encouraged! 

A Rube Goldberg Machine is intentionally designed to complete a simple task in an indirect or complex way. YouTube is also a great resource for examples or inspiration, but we recognize that everyone is limited to what they have. Use that to your advantage. Work your design into the space and materials you have available.

The final deliverable for this project will come in two parts. The first will be a video of your Rube Goldberg Machine in motion. The video must be done in one take and show the machine in motion from start to finish. The second will be a document identifying all the steps and materials utilized. The template provided below must be used for this deliverable.

Because Rube-Goldberg machines often move quickly, this ensures the judges notice all the steps and unique uses of the materials. These deliverables will be submitted through a link on the Experience Viterbi App. Submissions will be accepted starting on Saturday, April 11th at noon until Sunday, April 12th at noon. The video and document submission boxes each have a limit of 10GB. While we do not expect the files to reach this size, please contact vgsl@vase.usc.edu if it becomes an issue.


Here are the rules and requirements for this Rube-Goldberg Competition.

  • The final step of the Rube-Goldberg machine will be to turn on/off something.This could be any light, electronic, etc.
  • Find different ways to creatively incorporate three pencils/pens into your machine.
  • Steps may be repeated, but the length of the machine will be judged by the number of unique steps.
  • Incorporate an object that represents you (if working on a team, one object is required per member)
  • Make sure all steps are visible in the video. This may require practicing run throughs before the final recording.

The judging rubric can be found here.

Please find the template for the document to be submitted here.

Find the event on the Experience Viterbi App here.

If you have any questions, a Zoom meeting will be set up for the first hour of the competition (Saturday, April 11th from 12:00PM-1:00PM). Please visit the Experience Viterbi App for the meeting link, more information, and submission link!

Winners will be announced on Monday, April 13th.

Best of luck!

Published on April 10th, 2020

Last updated on April 10th, 2020