The annual first task for commencing first-year student engineers at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst is to construct a giant Rube Goldberg Machine.
In 2021 the dynamic Rube Goldberg Machine, the students’ complex problem-solving exercise, ran on time today at CSU Engineering in Bathurst.
Charles Sturt Engineer-in-Residence Ms Shara Cameron explained that their first two weeks at CSU Engineering, commencing student engineers participate in an introductory learning exercise in which they cooperate in teams to construct and operate the complex device known as a ‘Rube Goldberg Machine’.
“For our commencing student engineers, building a Rube Goldberg Machine is a case of ‘in at the deep end’ with this first team-building and problem-solving exercise” Ms Cameron said.
“Based on the 1928 inventions comics by Rube Goldberg, a Rube Goldberg Machine features numerous steps that interact and combine to perform a simple task.
“In Rube Goldberg’s comics, these simple tasks included fishing an olive out of a bottle, scratching your own back, and swatting a fly.
“The 2021 CSU Engineering machine started with dominos falling, as it always does, and through a process of 21 steps it ‘vaccinated’ an orange (pictured, with students setting up the final action) in recognition of the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine in Australia.
“Carrying on the COVID-19 theme, there also was an excessive use of toilet paper, hand sanitiser, face masks, social distancing, virtual steps, and recycling.
“We like to theme each of our machines according to the Chinese lunar calendar, so this year’s machine recognised the Year of the Ox.”
The machine also included specific ‘carry over champion steps’, which are specific elements of machines from previous years, as well as new innovative steps the students create.
The current intake of student engineers is the sixth cohort to start the program.
The first students, who premiered the CSU Engineering Rube Goldberg machine in 2016, are expected to graduate from the Bachelor of Technology/Masters of Engineering (Civil Systems) this year.
Cadet engineers are already working around NSW, mainly in regional areas, providing a boost to the engineering services available in these areas, as was envisioned at the creation of the course.
The special guest this year, who will trigger the machine with the fall of dominoes, is the new Director of Engineering, Professor Jim Morgan, who started the machine at 2pm.
For the first time, this year the event was livestreamed on the CSU Engineering Facebook page.
“We hope that watching the machine that the student engineers have created will inspire the next generation of engineers to change the world,” Professor Morgan said.
The video of the 2019 CSU Engineering Rube Goldberg Machine is available to watch on YouTube.
The event was staged at CSU Engineering (building 1305) on Village Drive at Charles Sturt in Bathurst.
Starting in 2022 Charles Sturt will also offer a new four-year Bachelor of Engineering course.