WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A team of Purdue University engineering students has won the annual Rube Goldberg Machine contest with an absurdly complex contraption for changing the batteries in a flashlight.
The winning device Saturday employed 125 steps to change the batteries and turn the flashlight on.
The competition pays homage to the cartoonist Rube Goldberg, whose drawings depicted whimsically complicated machines for performing utterly simple tasks.
The contest in previous years asked students to find complicated ways to complete such tasks as sharpening a pencil and making a cup of coffee.
This year's winning contraption by the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers included a simulated rocket launch and a meteor impact on Earth.
It was Purdue's third straight national title in the event.