A Real Page-Turner

rube goldberg machineThis machine really DID turn a page – after automatically cranking a half-dozen ping-pong balls up two towers and dropping them randomly through a number of pathways until one ball finally hit a mechanism that turned…a single page. Then the process started all over again!

The machine was built by Princeton University Engineering students Sarah Tang and Tanner DeVoe. It was built entirely of K’Nex, was over 7 feet tall, and it took 45 hours to complete. Not to mention zillions of test runs!

The “Page-Turner” was the centerpiece of a Rube Goldberg program at our library. Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist famous for illustrating crazy, intricate machines meant to make life “easier.”

In addition to the machine, we had student group Princeton Engineering Education for Kids constructing simple (and not so simple) LEGO machines with kids, an extensive marble maze set for younger kids to build and test, a video loop of OK Go’s music video This Too Shall Pass, and student artist Kemy Lin inspiring kids to draw their own machines using this Rube Goldberg template.

Here’s a way cute example of “How to Catch a Butterfly” by a budding engineer:

kid's machine