The organization employed 215 steps to shred five sheets of paper in the annual contest that puts a premium on inefficiency, complexity and creativity. It is named after the legendary cartoonist of fanciful contraptions whose name became synonymous with schemes far too involved for their end products.
The Purdue team not only took first place for a second consecutive year -- it also won the People's Choice award in Saturday's competition on the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Ind.
The team set a record last year by using 125 steps in a Rube Goldberg machine to put batteries in a flashlight and turn it on.
"In one part of our machine we used 100 steps just to play the Purdue fight song because we basically created a fully working mechanical player piano," said Shawn Jordan, captain of the winning team and a computer and electrical engineering graduate student from Fort Wayne, Ind. "To win the competition is great, but it means so much also to win the People's Choice award because that means we entertained people, too."