rube goldberg rube goldberg A Rube Goldberg machine in Baltimore. (Photo: Jeff Kubina / Flickr)

Can a Rube Goldberg machine win you a scholarship to a prestigious college?

International competition open to high school students around the world.

Even if you've never heard of a Rube Goldberg machine, you've definitely seen one: these overly complicated machines go through way too much to accomplish comically simple tasks. You know: a set of dominos knocks over a brick, which falls into a bowling ball, which rolls into a stack of wood, which falls and hits the switch on a toaster, which ... toasts bread.

Television shows love the machines (Rube Goldberg himself was a cartoonist), and high school students may soon grow to love them because the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel is inviting high school student teams from around the world to build Rube Goldberg machines. Contest winners get a scholarship to the Technion, one of the most highly-regarded research institutions in the world (and home of the robot bartender), located in the northern Israeli city of Haifa.

"This challenge will encourage students to use out-of-the-box problem solving and teamwork to build a multi-step, chain reaction machine, and creatively incorporate earth-themed elements and texts into their entry," the competition's website reads.

The contest is cleverly titled "The Earth is in our Hands," and challenges students to "build your own Rube Goldberg Machine and show the world what our planet earth means to you." The machines should be made of recycled materials and can be about "anything to do with nature, recycling, and other themes of Earth Day," continued the website.

While the first place prize is a one-year scholarship to the Technion, the other prizes aren't too shabby. Second-place wins a 3D printer, and third place winners will receive an Arduino set, which is an "open-source electronic prototyping platform enabling users to create interactive electronic objects," Arduino's website reads.

The deadline is March 1, 2017, so get building! And in case you need some tips before you start:


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