The organization defended its title at the 18th annual competition by employing 215 steps to shred five sheets of paper in a contest that rewards 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 also won the People's Choice award in Saturday's competition, which took place before an audience of about 1,200 on the Purdue campus.
"This is the eighth year I've been involved in the Rube Goldberg contest, and the competition is played at a much higher level than when I began," said Shawn Jordan, captain of the winning team and a graduate student from Fort Wayne, Ind., majoring in computer and electrical engineering. "The machines are better designed and use many more steps. I am just amazed at how the quality of the machines has increased."