The Incredible Machine event aims to challenge the engineers and
turn odds and ends into something amazing and inventive. The goal is
to show off your ability to create a complex solution to a simple
You have from now until 3 PM Saturday the 15th of
January 2011 to design your Incredible Machine and send it along with
up to two team members to Room 407 in the Student
Center for judging. Your machine can be made out of any
materials you wish, and it may be as complex as you can devise, but
there is an unusual twist and some limitations of which you should be
aware. Naturally, safety is first and foremost, so any rule
violations will cause your team to be disqualified. Yes, really, so do
pay attention to the details.
So what is this amazing machine supposed to do? You should aim to
complete 2 tasks. The first task is to raise a flag. The second task
will come from the following list, and it will be announced at the
beginning of the event (it will be the same for all teams).
List of possible tasks:
- Flip on a standard light switch
- Cut a piece of paper in half
- Mix a non-alcoholic drink
- Close a door
- Hit a target with a rubber band
- Sharpen a #2 pencil
Your team should provide its own flag. We will provide the secret second
item to be interacted with (e.g. the light switch, bottles of water,
pencils) and you may incorporate that object in the hour of on-site design
that you have.
- You must pass the 'Slocum Safety Rule' which can be stated thus: You must
be willing to be naked in a phone booth with your machine while it is
running. If we are concerned that you have spurned this rule, we reserve the
right to find a phone booth for you to demo your invention.
- No animals may be alive at any juncture while your machine is running
(starting dead is okay, but gross.)
- No fire. No exceptions. (Sorry, guys, this is the facilities
- Your machine may not plug into the wall.
- No toxic chemicals.
- You must be able to leave the room as you found it. If your machine has
the potential for mess, you must either be willing to clean it up
*completely* or be able to contain it in a tray that you provide.
- Your machine should occupy a space that has a foot print of 1 meter by
1/2 meter and is no more than 2 meters high (although less than 1 is
preferable for space and transportation).
- You will have up to an hour once you arrive with your machine to make any
modifications that you see fit. We will provide some materials and tools for
this, but you may want to bring your own to limit contention.
- You may interact with your machine only once at the beginning; this
interaction must cease before any tasks are performed.
- You will have up to three attempts to demonstrate your machine to
the judges. You will receive the highest score of the three runs.
- Showing up with an earnest attempt at a machine: 20 coins
- Number of energy transfers (>=5, >=10, >= 15): (5,10,20) coins
respectively (not cumulative)
- Successful completion of tasks: 10 coins per assigned task
completed (up to 20 coins).